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Just two weeks ago we discussed the dismal smog that had closed roads and ariports around Beijing during the recent holiday. The situation has got worse, far worse, since then. As Reuters reports (and the stunning images below show), choking smog all but shut down one of northeastern China’s largest cities on Monday, forcing schools to suspend classes, snarling traffic and closing the airport in the country’s first major air pollution crisis of the winter. An index measuring PM2.5, or particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5), reached a reading of 1,000 in some parts of Harbin, the gritty capital of northeastern Heilongjiang province and home to some 11 million people. A level above 300 is considered hazardous! China’s leadership is concerned about air quality because it is a constant source of public anger.
Users of China’s popular Twitter-like Sina Weibo microblogging site reacted with both anger and bitter sarcasm over Harbin’s air pollution.
“After years of effort, the wise and hard-working people of Harbin have finally managed to skip both the middle-class society and the communist society stages, and have now entered a fairyland society!” wrote one user.
Other parts of northeastern China also experienced severe smog, including Tangshan, two hours east of Beijing, and Changchun, the capital of Jilin province which borders Heilongjiang.
The World Health Organisation recommends daily levels of particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers to be no more than twenty. Anything above 300 is considered dangerous. Levels around 1,000 were recorded in some parts of Harbin. All schools were shut and the airport was closed.
Harbin is home to some 11 million people and lies in the northeastern Heilongjiang province of China. Other parts of northeastern China also experienced severe smog.
Visibility has reduced to only around 10 metres causing traffic jams.
China’s leadership is concerned about air quality because it is a constant source of public anger.
The smog is expected to continue for the next 24 hours.
This is the freeway… (spot the cars)
- 8 Appalling Instagram Photos Of The Chinese City That Was Shut Down By Smog (businessinsider.com)
- Chinese city paralysed by smog (theguardian.com)
- VIDEO: Super Smog Hits China – ‘Airpocalypse’ Hits Harbin, Closing Schools (elementulhuliganic.wordpress.com)
- China smog shuts schools and roads (bbc.co.uk)
- Smog causes chaos in Chinese city of 11 million (irishtimes.com)