Smog blankets China. Cities registered the highest pollution levels ever

I dati sono allarmanti. Il particolato è 50 volte superiore ai livelli ritenuti sicuri dall’Oms, mentre una spessa coltre ha invaso Shenyang.

It is the worst event of atmospheric pollution China has ever registered. Particulates reached record levels, coinciding with a temperatures decrease and the consequent use of heating, completely covering the sky in many cities in the north-west of the country.


Shenyang3_3495368b smog
Smog in Shenyang. Photo: Getty.


In Shenyang, according to numerous sources, levels of poisonous airborne particles known as PM 2.5 reached 1,157 micrograms per cubic metre, whilst some parts of the city recorded PM 2.5 levels exceeding 1,400. The World Health Organisation (WHO) identifies the dangerous level of PM over 25 micrograms over 24-hours.


Changchun, the capital of Jilin province, PM 2.5 levels where at 860 micrograms per cubic metre, whilst in Beijing, Tianjin, and some areas of the province of Hebei, Henan, Shandong, and Heilongjiang, pollution is reaching worrisome levels for citizens’ health.


Vista della statua di Mao Zedong scattata nel 2013. Foto Reuters.
Mao Zedong statue, 2013. Photo: Reuters.


Images show entire areas covered by a thick grey blanket hiding the sun. Visibility has decreased to less than 500 metres, in some cases even 100. Airports and highways have been closed. Millions of people are facing one of China’s worst cases of atmospheric pollution, since the country began to monitor air quality. Authorities in fact affirm they are still being trained in order to understand measures aimed at curbing pollution.


Independent studies show that such bad air quality kills 1.6 million people each year (comparable to 17% of China’s total deaths), whilst 99% of Chinese people is exposed to unhealthy air conditions. People cannot breathe, literally.


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