By Erik Crouch
Image via The Asahi Shimbun
Now that you’ve got ‘PM2.5’ added to your daily vocabulary, it’s time for a new one: “cross-border air pollution.” Several prefectures in Southern Japan have reported higher-than-normal concentrations of PM2.5 in air blown over from the Chinese mainland, and are blaming Beijing for their new health concerns. The levels are low by Chinese standards—cities reported between 35 and 46 micrograms/cubic meter, compared to Beijing’s 900—but are still notably higher than usual. Japanese law mandates a yearly average of PM2.5 of no more than 15 micrograms/cubic meter, or about 1/60th of Beijing’s worst.
Talking with the AFP, Japanese weren’t thrilled by the new toxic additions to their air supply:
“China is our neighbour, and all sorts of problems happen between us all the time,” said Takaharu Abiko, 50.
“It is very worrying. This is dangerous pollution, like poison, and we can’t protect ourselves. It’s scary.”
Just when Japan and China were getting along so well! As if Diaoyu drama weren’t enough to sour relations between the two nations, now one has to breathe the dirt-filled pollution of the other. We can only hope China will update its passport images to include the gigantic region-consuming cloud of smog.