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Monday, November 9, 2015

Daily Lessons from Life 9 November 2015 - China smog around 50 times WHO recommendations

Happy Deepavali (Diwali) to our Hindus friends! Celebrating the Festival of Lights!

"China smog around 50 times WHO recommendations - AFP 9 November 2015

BEIJING: A swathe of China was blanketed with dangerous acrid smog Monday (Nov 8) after levels of the most dangerous particulates reached around 50 times World Health Organization maximums, with energy use for heating blamed as winter sets in.

Pictures showed smog so thick that buildings in Changchun, the capital of Jilin province in the northeast, were rendered invisible. One image showed a restaurant's neon sign seemingly floating in mid-air above traffic, proclaiming in yellow: "Northeastern Dumpling King".

An image circulating online showed a man biking through snow in Shenyang, capital of the neighbouring province of Liaoning, on Sunday wearing a vintage-looking gas mask, and the official news agency Xinhua quoted a hospital official in the city saying that his respiratory ward had been overwhelmed, with all its beds full.

Levels of PM2.5, the tiny airborne particles considered most harmful to health, reached 860 micrograms per cubic metre in Changchun, a city of around eight million, on Monday. The World Health Organization's recommended maximum is a 24-hour average of 25 micrograms.

The Changchun city government said on social media it was initiating a "level three" emergency response, telling schools to stop organising outdoor activities, and reminding residents to stay indoors and "take health precautions", without further specifications.

China's chronic pollution problem has been linked to hundreds of thousands of premature deaths, and has become a major source of popular discontent with the government.

PM2.5 particulates can play a role in heart disease, stroke, and lung ailments such as emphysema and cancer. Online commentators were furious.

"If heating companies dare to buy cheap, low-quality coal and pollute the environment, they should be discovered and immediately shot," said one poster.

Overall levels of PM2.5 particulates reached 1,157 micrograms per cubic metre in Shenyang on Sunday, data from the city's own environmental protection bureau showed. They peaked as high as 1,400 in parts of the city according to state broadcaster CCTV, with visibility less than 100 metres.

The readings appear to be among the highest ever publicly recorded in China. The extreme smog was caused by the city's coal-powered public heating system being switched on with the onset of winter, and by heavy pollution blown in from other provinces, city environmental authorities said on a verified social media account.

The explanation provoked derision online.

"Sweden also has central heating - why don't they have haze?" asked one poster.

Xinhua blasted Shenyang's emergency response as "useless" in the face of "such severe haze and pollution", which it said was the heaviest of the year. "Fairyland or doomsday?" quipped Xinhua of the sorry winterscapes on its Twitter account.

Calls made to the environmental protection bureau in Shenyang, where around eight million people live, went unanswered. Online commentators expressed concerns that governmental attempts to clean up the air would be too little, too late.

"It's like this every year," was a common refrain.

One user wrote: "Environmental pollution has made chronic diseases more and more common; we're becoming the sick man of Asia of the new century.""

Thankfully, Shenyang and Changchun are TOO FAR away from our Tiny Little Red Dot to join the haze from Indonesia. Otherwise, we may not have this year shortened '8 months of clean air provided by Indonesia'! LOL!!


1. 'It's like this every year' sounds totally lamed! Irresponsible if one may add. It is puzzling WHY human beings would just accept such a grand scale environmental pollution that will DIRECTLY affect their health and even life expectancy!;

2. as China become more prosperous and the PEOPLE become wealthier, don't they want to have a healthy and longer life to ENJOY the 'fruits of their prosperous labour'? Or it as explained in the 'paradox of life' scripts: we work hard to make all the money and then spend ALL the money to get back our health!!;

3. this 'every year' thingy confirms that 'such actions and fatalism' are NOT discriminatory! It applies in Indonesia. It applies in China. I am sure some researchers can find MORE countries with similar 'It is like this every year' stories where people just resigned to their 'fate' and just shrugged their shoulders and threw up their hands and says: 'what can I do! I am just one person!!'.

Or maybe humans' ability to adapt and live with very high PSI2.5 particles have gone up with habitual breathing in of the same! FAT HOPE must be the response from the Medical evidence! People don't adapt to breathing in these stuffs! They just die from it!!

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