Beijing air pollution off the charts, US says

People walk along a street in thick smog in Beijing
People walk along a street in thick smog in Beijing. Beijing went "beyond" measurable pollution levels, the US embassy said, as a Chinese official warned people to stay indoors and avoid outdoor activities.

Thick smog blanketing Beijing went "beyond" measurable pollution levels on Monday, the US embassy said, as a Chinese official warned people to stay indoors and avoid outdoor activities.

The independent assessment by the embassy said pollution was either hazardous or "beyond index," meaning that had plunged below the worst level on the scale.

The Beijing Environmental Bureau said air quality in most of the city was at level five -- the worst rating.

"Obviously elderly people and children should not go outside," an official at the bureau who refused to identify herself told AFP.

, rising temperatures and a lack of wind caused the stifling smog, which reduced visibility in parts of the city to just 200 metres (yards), the Beijing weather bureau said in a report.

Air pollution in Beijing has been consistently listed as among the worst in the world by international organisations such as the United Nations.

Air quality will remain poor until at least Thursday when winds from the north are expected to pick up and blow much of the away, the weather bureau said.

Strong winds kept Beijing's skies clear and blue for most of January despite the city's numerous coal-fired power stations and more than 4.8 million cars on the roads -- the capital's main sources of air pollution.

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(c) 2011 AFP

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Feb 21, 2011
Just wait till we get some AFricans who realize the automobile has been invented, with actual cars and coal power plants, and another 10% to 20% of China realizes the automobile has been invented.

Their air quality will look like a dry ice demonstration you find on youtube.

In 2030, Africa and China combined will be burning something like nine billion gallons of gasoline per day, which will make around 80 billion kilograms of CO2 blanketing the far east and ITCZ each day.

Hopefully, some of this smoke will clear out in time for the evening commute...

It is a good thing that CO2 is a white gas which reflects most sun light.

They are only at around 10 million cars for the entire country! Wait till they get a billion!

"Li, Li, don't forget to wear your respirator at the bus stop today!"

"Yes mommy! I won't forget!"

"Hold STILL, the air lock must be sealed perfectly and depressurized before you go outside! We must save oxygen!"

Feb 21, 2011
In 2030, Africa and China combined will be burning something like nine billion gallons of gasoline per day...

By 2030 we'll all be driving electric cars.

And I'll pass on the "white gas" flamebait.

Feb 21, 2011
You're a better person than I, Alec123456789. Quantum Conundrum, I'm curious; in what sense is CO2 a "white gas?"

Feb 21, 2011
typical industrial development pattern.

1) industrialization increases standard of living and life expectancy.
2) negative effects of industrialization replace non-industrialized threats as greatest limit to quality of life and life expectancy.
3) legislation and other information technologies are used to mitigate the negative effects of industrialization.

Conclusion: They'll fix the problem just like the US fixed problems like the Erie canal catching fire because of excess pollution. Most likely China will continue their successful strategy of copying best practices from more developed countries in solving the pollution problem.

Much of China is still not industrialized and natural threats to quality of life and lifespan are still more a problem for the majority of Chinese. Therefore the pollution in China will get worse before it gets better on the whole, but once it starts getting better should be a much faster improvement than USA experienced.

Feb 21, 2011
White gas is what they drink around the campfire; black gas is what they emit at the keyboard.

Feb 22, 2011
This comment has been removed by a moderator.

Feb 22, 2011
You think gas powered cars is the main contributer of pollution???

Main causes are power plants and dirty industry. The effect of cars and trucks is beyond negligable when compared to those behemoths.

that fact is why if we in the US switch to electric cars pollution will with out a doubt increase unless we switch to more renewable energy as well... we will be giving up the less polluting gas engine for more demand on gas, oil, coal power plants that producing huge amounts of pollution.

Feb 22, 2011
White gas?? Now that is something new....Maybe CO2 has a smell too and methane!!! Lordy....

Feb 23, 2011
Off the charts eh?

How can pollution be "off the charts"?

Make a bigger chart...or drop the idiotic sensationalist headlines...

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