air pollution

Ocean International Center

A building in the Ocean International Center. One of three quick snaps from a taxi with my iPhone 6. Again, the tuning comes courtesy of Adobe Lightroom.

And, yep, our summer of (mostly) amazing weather continues.

Anhui Tower

Taken with my iPhone five days ago, on what was a beautiful blue-sky day.

Today, unfortunately, is not such a day. The aqi at the US Embassy is at 429 as I write this (the scale tops-out at 500), and I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets worse over the evening. (One note… the reading at the US Embassy is from just one site in a city with a municipality that is larger in area than Rhode Island… it is great as an indicator, and for historical comparisons, but shouldn’t be used as the definitive guide to Beijing’s air quality.)

During the winter months, steam is produced at plants throughout the city, and then piped to distribution centers, before going into dwellings. Unfortunately, these plants are coal-fired… and I don’t mean the “clean burning” type, either.

In addition, there are (usually poorer) households/communities that don’t get steam, and rely on heat by directly burning coal.

During these grey days, I do as most other Beijing people do: limited outside activity, wear a mask when outside, keep the windows and doors shut tight when at home, and look forward to the next big wind.

That said, I don’t dwell on it. It has been part of life during my eight years here, and is certainly not overshadowed by other things that I think make Beijing a wonderful place to live.

Corner Sunset

Shanshan, Chong Chong, and I went on a walk to a neighborhood 7-Eleven to get some sushi and such for dinner. We crossed this street corner a few minutes before sunset.

The building behind the plastic netting is undergoing renovation. The netting is to protect people from dust and debris.

Oh, the AQI when I took the shot was about 165, about half of what it was in my post of a couple days ago.

 

The BBC is Lying

So, I made a complaint to the BBC about them using an archived photograph of a day with horrible air pollution in Beijing, instead of a current one (we had excellent weather for the better part of a month). I also pointed-out that the AQI was fantastic (it got down to *10* at one point after I complained).

Here is their response:

Thank you for getting in touch about our report on Beijing and please accept our apologies for the delay in replying. This was a report about air quality, which is now an issue of concern among China’s leadership, so it seemed appropriate to use a photograph illustrating traffic and air pollution. The weather on May 27th does not appear to be of relevance to this story.

Folks, air quality has been an issue here for a long time, but especially since 2001 (when Beijing was awarded the 2008 Olympics).

Yes, air quality needs to improve… but, well, it doesn’t justify providing a misleading image  or leaving-out AQI data.


Oh, today’s weather isn’t good. White hazy smog with an AQI of 331 (Hazardous).

I’m sure that the BBC will once again start reporting on our weather, which they haven’t done so far this summer.

And, just in case you’ve missed the pictures I’ve taken of our fantastic weather, they can be seen here.