Tuesday, June 5, 2012

THE SMOG OF DIPLOMACY

Beijing not Mars!
The Chinese government has told foreign embassies to keep their eyes and noses out of the country's smog!

Wu Xiaoqing, a vice environmental minister told the media today that only the government is authorized to monitor and publish air quality information. Apparently, a popular Twitter feed from the American embassy that tracks the smog in Beijing has caught the attention of the regime, and they are none too pleased.


Xiaoqing says data from other sources may not be standardized or rigorous. The smog tweets are based on a single monitoring station within embassy grounds. Pollution levels are rated according to a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standard that is much more stringent than the one used by the China.

 I gather that means that the regime decide what to tell citizens and the truth must be rigorously monitored.The fact that American standards are much higher than those in China means that smog levels that would be considered unhealthy in the United States are reported as healthy in China.

As of the time of this post, the American's are continuing the hourly Twitter feed.

The station measures PM2.5 particles and ozone. "PM2.5" means particles that are smaller than 2.5 microns in size, like soot from diesel engines. Research shows that these are the most dangerous pollutants. The first part is the date and time. Then comes the measurement, then an index that is calculated from the measurement, then a health impact rating. Anything below 100 is good, anything above 100 is a cause for concern Measurements well above the threshold that is considered normally to be 'hazardous' to human health are often considered normal by the regime.



With the continued rapid population and the economic growth the problem is growing worse. Beijing is  powered by many coal-fired electricity  which constantly pumps pollutants into the air and it is also home to an estimated 5 million cars. When the temperatures rise and the wind stops blowing, a thick blanket of polluted smog covers the city.

I'll take our North Atlantic, fresh salty fog rolling in over the south side hills any day!


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