Heavy air pollution hits Shanghai, delaying flights

Dec 06, 2013
A young girl wears a face mask on a street in downtown Shanghai as severe pollution hits the city on December 5, 2013

China's commercial hub Shanghai was blanketed by dense smog Friday, delaying flights and spurring sales of face masks.

Levels of PM 2.5—tiny particles in the air considered particularly hazardous to health—rose to more than 600 micrograms per cubic metre in the afternoon, Shanghai's government said on its microblog.

That is 24 times the World Health Organization's (WHO) safety guideline of 25 micrograms, and reports said it was a record since such monitoring began.

Shanghai's air quality is normally far better than that of Beijing and other major cities in the north, but environmental authorities declared the highest warning of "severe pollution", issued when the ambient PM 2.5 concentration reaches 301 or more.

"Shanghai is no longer suitable for living, is too severe!" one user commented on a microblogging service.

The smog forced the city's two airports to cancel or delay hundreds of flights on Friday, official figures showed. It also boosted sales of in drug stores, state media reported.

Environmental group Greenpeace blamed the smog on emissions from coal-fired power plants in the neighbouring provinces of Jiangsu, Anhui and Shandong, it said on a verified microblogging account.

Aircraft are barely visible through thick smog on the tarmac of Hongqiao airport in Shanghai as severe pollution blankets the city on December 6, 2013

Cities across China have been hit by intense air pollution in recent years, much of it caused by emissions from coal-burning power stations, with PM 2.5 levels reaching as high as 40 times WHO limits.

China's pollution problems are blamed on rapid urbanisation, dramatic economic development and climatic factors. Pollution tends to worsen as winter approaches.

Airborne particles have been linked to hundreds of thousands of premature deaths, and the problem has tarnished the image of Chinese cities including Beijing, which saw an almost 15 percent drop in tourist visits during the first half of this year.

China vowed in September to reduce levels of atmospheric pollutants in the capital and other by as much as 25 percent to try to improve their dire .

Explore further: China climate negotiator laments 'severe' pollution

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

China vows air pollution cuts in major cities

Sep 12, 2013

China vowed Thursday to reduce levels of atmospheric pollutants in Beijing and other major cities by as much as 25 percent to try to improve their dire air quality.

Air pollution in Beijing reaches hazardous levels

Jan 12, 2013

Air pollution levels in China's notoriously dirty capital were at dangerous levels Saturday, with cloudy skies blocking out visibility and warnings issued for people to remain indoors.

Dangerous pollution levels blight Chinese city

Oct 22, 2013

Thick smog enveloped a major Chinese city for a third day Tuesday, with schools and a regional airport shut and poor visibility forcing ground transport to a halt in places.

Chinese city blanketed in heavy pollution

Oct 21, 2013

Choking clouds of pollution blanketed a Chinese city famed for its annual ice festival Monday, reports said, cutting visibility to 10 metres (33 feet) and underscoring the nation's environmental challenges.

Recommended for you

Dead floppy drive: Kenya recycles global e-waste

12 hours ago

In an industrial area outside Kenya's capital city, workers in hard hats and white masks take shiny new power drills to computer parts. This assembly line is not assembling, though. It is dismantling some ...

New paper calls for more carbon capture and storage research

16 hours ago

Federal efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions must involve increased investment in research and development of carbon capture and storage technologies, according to a new paper published by the University of Wyoming's ...

Coal gas boom in China holds climate change risks

21 hours ago

Deep in the hilly grasslands of remote Inner Mongolia, twin smoke stacks rise more than 200 feet into the sky, their steam and sulfur billowing over herds of sheep and cattle. Both day and night, the rumble ...

User comments : 0