By Michael Evans
Environmental activists have criticized the government’s response to the smog currently shrouding China’s capital, which Greenpeace spokesperson Zhou Rong says is “the worst level of air pollution on record in Beijing according to both the official Chinese government data and that published by the US embassy.”
State media has advised residents to stay indoors as much as possible, as low winds mean that the smog is likely to remain until Thursday.
Despite such warnings, environmentalist Ma Jun says that the authorities are not doing enough to protect the public. He told the South China Morning Post that the government has failed to act according to plans previously drawn up to handle high readings on the Air Quality Index (AQI), currently at 500:
“It said when AQI exceeds 300, children and students should not be organised into groups to take part in outdoor sports activities, but unfortunately no such bans were reported recently,” Ma said. “It is no secret that our way of development is not sustainable and the total pollution emissions in the region have far exceeded the maximum ecological capacity.”
Activists have also criticized the lack of coordination in government efforts to combat air pollution. While authorities have characterized pollution as a problem affecting large regions as opposed to individual cities, there has been little cooperation between local governments to address the problem. “Unless they can join hands and find a common solution, I don’t think we’ll see real improvement in air quality,” Zhou Rong told the SCMP.
>>> Check out images of smog eating up cities across China HERE.