Following on to my earlier post of 23rd July, the prediction that air pollution was going to be a major health hazard looks a reality as Beijing has been enveloped in a thick haze the last few days.
Common pollutants measured in Beijing include particulates, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. Particulates, which can come from dust and fire, are the most common.
The degree of pollution is measured by the Air Pollution Index(API), which ranges from zero to 500, with the level of 100 being accepted as the maximum permissible level. Take a look here to see the API levels for the last three years as well as today’s levels.
The city has put in place a series of drastic pollution controls since July 20 that included pulling half the city’s 3.3 million vehicles off the roads, halting most construction and closing some factories in the capital and surrounding provinces.
Now, with the air quality still poor, Beijing authorities are considering two further measures:
- restricting further the number of cars which totals 3.3 million in the capital
- cloud-seeding to induce rain.
Really, the only hope at this late stage is to invoke Mother Nature and hope that she will bring wind and rain over the next few days.
To quote an Olympic official, what Beijing desperately needs now is a constant gust of wind and rains at night.