Pollution "worst on record" in Beijing - Greenpeace

BEIJING Sun Jan 13, 2013 9:27am IST

A man walks along trees on a heavy haze winter day in central Beijing, January 12, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Lee

A man walks along trees on a heavy haze winter day in central Beijing, January 12, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Lee

Related Topics

BEIJING (Reuters) - Air quality in Beijing was the "worst on record" on Saturday and Sunday, according to environmentalists, as the city's pollution monitoring centre warned residents to stay indoors with pollution 30-45 times above recommended safety levels.

The Chinese capital, home to around 20 million people, has been wrapped in thick smog since Friday, reducing visibility and disrupting traffic.

Data posted on Sunday by the monitoring centre (www.bjmemc.com.cn) showed particulate matter measuring less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter (PM2.5) had reached more than 600 micrograms per square metre at some monitoring stations in Beijing, and was as high as 900 on Saturday evening.

The recommended daily level for PM2.5 is 20, according to the World Health Organisation. Such pollution has been identified as a major cause of asthma and respiratory diseases.

"This is really the worst on record not only from the official data but also from the monitoring data from the U.S. embassy -- some areas in (neighbouring) Hebei province are even worst than Beijing," said Zhou Rong, climate and energy campaigner at Greenpeace.

The Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Centre said heavy pollution had been trapped by an area of low pressure, making it harder to disperse, and the conditions were likely to last another two days.

Pollution has been identified as one of the biggest challenges facing China's leaders, with outgoing president Hu Jintao saying during his address to the Communist Party Congress last November that the country needed to "reverse the trend of ecological deterioration and build a beautiful China".

China said at the end of last year that it would begin releasing hourly pollution data for its biggest cities.

Beijing has already committed to a timetable to improve air quality in the city, and has relocated most of its heavy industry, but surrounding regions have not made the same commitments, said Zhou.

"For Beijing, cleaning up will take a whole generation but other regions don't even have any targets to cut coal burning. I bet the pollution here is mainly from those surrounding regions."

(Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Michael Perry)

FILED UNDER:
  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Reforms Plan

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Border Talks

Border Talks

India names Ajit Doval as special envoy for China border talks.  Full Article 

WTO Deal

WTO Deal

U.S. seeks to step up India trade talks  Full Article 

Phone Masts

Phone Masts

American Tower to buy Bharti Nigeria phone masts for $1.1 billion  Full Article 

Infrastructure Plan

Infrastructure Plan

India targets private cash to build railways to its ports.  Full Article 

Shadow Banking

Shadow Banking

Reserve Bank planning more measures for NBFCs.  Full Article 

Auto Sector

Auto Sector

Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors lift 2014 global sales target on China, emerging markets  Full Article 

Oil Prices

Oil Prices

Some fund managers see oil falling to $60 without OPEC cut.  Full Article 

Project Shelved

Project Shelved

Jindal Steel shelves $10 bln project after coal setback.  Full Article 

Market Eye

Market Eye

Sensex, Nifty rise to record after China, ECB stimulus boosts risk appetite.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage