Dense smog envelops East and Central China Published: 2013-1-14 8:55:00

                   Editor's Note

China's meteorological authority issued a yellow alert on smog shrouding the country's central and eastern regions on Sunday.

The smog will decrease visibility to within 1,000 meters in some parts of Beijing, Tianjin and Chongqing municipalities, as well as provinces of Hebei, Henan, Jiangsu, Sichuan, Hunan, Guizhou, Yunnan and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on Sunday morning, the Central Meteorological Center said.

                    Latest News

Global Times, Jan. 14 Smog leaves cities choking
Heavy smog shrouding China's central and eastern regions over the weekend shocked locals and drew global attention, triggering calls from the public to shift the country's development model away from the previous fixation on economic growth.

Xinhua, Jan. 13:  Beijing air pollution reaches dangerous levels

Beijing's air pollution reached dangerous levels yet again on Sunday, marking the third consecutive day of severe smog, municipal environmental authorities said.

Xinhua, Jan. 13: smog shrouds East and Central China; disrupting traffic
Heavy smog enveloped a large swathe of east and central China Saturday, causing highway closures and flight delays in several provinces.

Global Times - Xinhua, Jan. 12: Yellow alert issued as smog covers northern cities
Beijing was covered by smog on Friday with the China Environmental Monitoring Center's reading showed the air quality ranging between poor and hazardous in the city, signifying the first air pollution spike of the new year.

                 Data and Photos

 Ranking  Cities
Air Pollution Index
 Ranking Cities
Air Pollution Index
Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province
 500  6  Tangshan, Hebei Province
 1 Handan, Hebei Province
 500  7  Shenyang, Liaoning Province
 1  Baoding, Hebei Province
 500  8  Qinhuangdao, Hebei Province
 Beijing  498  9  Xi'an, Shaanxi Province
 5  Changchun, Jilin Province
 375  10  Chengdu, Sichuan Province
The table above shows the most polluted 10 cities in China on Sunday according to the Air Pollution Index (API) released by the Ministry of Environmental Protection on Sunday.

The Air Pollution Index (API) in three cities reached 500, the maximum on the index, on Sunday according to the date related by China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection.

An API reading below 50 indicates excellent air quality, 50 to 100 indicates healthy air, and readings above 100 mean polluted air.

The Beijing municipal environmental monitoring center said readings for PM2.5, or airborne particles measuring less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, had reached more than 700 micrograms per square meter at several monitoring stations in Beijing, reaching as high as 993 Saturday evening.

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             Protective Measures

China's National Meteorological Center (NMC) advises drivers to be cautious of road conditions and slow down to guarantee safety on its official Website.

Wang Qian, a monitor with the Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center, reminded residents who are prone to respiratory illnesses, such as children and the elderly, to cut back on outdoor activities when pollution levels are high.

The public are also advised to avoid strenuous exercise.



Chen Xiaoyan, a respiratory specialist and professor at Xi’an Jiaotong University during an interview with the Shaanxi Broadcasting Cooperation:

“Wear hospital-grade masks made from thicker, non-woven fabrics, such as cotton cloth or 12-layer etamine, to keep out viruses and germs in cold smoggy weather.”

“Do not buy a face mask from a manufacturer that provides no information about its origin, thickness, layers or air permeability.”

“Wash and disinfect anti-smog masks with boiled water every day, as they can carry a lot of dust and germs.”   
“Do not spray perfume on a mask, which may be harmful to your respiratory system and even cause diseases.”


Chen Kejin, chief doctor at the Hubei Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, during an interview with the Wuhan Evening News on January 11:

“Lighter and milder fare such as fresh fruits and vegetables are recommended in smoggy weather, while foods such as lilyturf root and pig’s blood help nourish and moisturize the lungs.”


Media Comments:

The Beijing Times argued that since there is no single source for pollution, cities must adopt a green-minded approach toward development.  

"There is no single department that can reduce PM2.5 density. It requires effort from all aspects of society. Air conditions can be improved as long as cities are environmentally-minded in their construction methods, development and everyday life," the paper commented.

The Xi'an Evening News
suggested that companies allow for flexible hours and accommodate working from home when possible in such extreme pollution cases.

Expert Views:

Yang Fuqiang, senior advisor of the US-based NGO Natural Resources Defense Council:

Pollution, especially particulate emission, increases the frequency of smog or haze. All these things warn us that we are suffering from the consequences of pollution and we need to do something to reverse that.

smoggy or hazy weather is not just harmful to people's health, causing greater occurrence of respiratory disease, but also leads to heavy economic losses.

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