If you were unfortunate enough to visit the east of China last week, you will have run into what was a very noticeable haze that descended on this part of the country. Residents and regular visitors knew all to well that this was the return of the dreaded vast swathes of air pollution that still hit this region of China. Levels were consistently over 300 on the AQI Index in Beijing last week, which according to the ‘AirNow‘ website… “”Hazardous” AQI greater than 300. This would trigger a health warnings of emergency conditions. The entire population is more likely to be affected.”
The above image was released today by NASA’s MODIS Rapid Response Team and shows clearly a huge wave of pollution lingering in the east, amazingly stretching all the way from Beijing, through central China and down to the west of Shanghai. Incredible. According to NASA….
“Skies over eastern China remained hazy on October 18, 2011. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite took this picture the same day.
Over China’s coastal plain south of Beijing, haze forms a giant, nearly opaque arc that terminates over Bo Hai. Although agricultural fires probably play a role in the formation of the haze, it more likely results from urban and industrial pollution in this densely populated area.”
If you are concerned about the level of pollution during your visit to China, especially in Beijing, you may want to check out the air pollution monitor on Twitter which provides hourly updates in the capital.
For further reading, check out The Globe & Mail’s Mark MacKinnon and his recent report on what it’s like living with air pollution. Think China’s Air is Breathable? Think Again.