The Bird’s Next in December. Continuing with the absolutely wonderful weather we’ve had many days this month.
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.
And, just like that, the white clouds and blue skies are back here in the northern capital of the middle kingdom.
I took this picture around 3 pm, when the AQI was 57 (Moderate). You can see a screenshot of the AQI for the last 24 hours here.
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.
I looked up when leaving the apartment complex a few days ago, and saw this. One of the nice things of having a camera with me on a fairly regular basis. 🙂
Today’s weather, unfortunately, is a bit smoggy. AQI has been in the unhealthy range as well.
Hopefully, we’ll get some rain and/or wind tonight, and get back to the beautiful weather.
I took this picture a few hours ago as I was leaving work. Yet another beautiful summer day in Beijing. Blue skies, white clouds, low air pollution (currently at 50 AQI).
The Chinese government today announced plans to remove six million vehicles from the road by the end of the year that don’t meet exhaust emission standards (which, if you’ve not seen “An Inconvenient Truth”, are higher than those in the US).
So, instead of taking a picture today, the BBC used this:
You can see the BBC article here.