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As part of its “blame pollution on everything except cars or coal” campaign, the Beijing city government has announced plans to crush street-side barbecues during this year’s prime grilling season. Authorities explained that “the smoke from outdoor barbecues is high in fine particulate matter concentration,” and therefore should be stymied as quickly as possible. Never mind the fact that China consumes nearly as much coal as the rest of the world combined; that can’t be part of the problem, because that sounds really hard to fix. No, the problem is barbecues. Or maybe fireworks.
China Daily, ever the objective analyst of Chinese government policy, thinks this plan sounds great:
May is the peak time for outdoor grill cooking, which takes a heavy toll on air quality, traffic and residents, said Dang Xuefeng, spokesman for the capital’s bureau of city administration and law enforcement.
“As the weather warms up, the streets gradually fill up with roadside barbecue spots, sizzling kebabs on the grill and cold beer, which also create serious air pollution and undesired noise for the neighborhoods,” he said. […]
Pan Xiaochuan, a professor at Peking University’s School of Public Health, said the smoke from barbeques is a very common source of PM2.5, or particulate matter with a diameter smaller than 2.5 micrometers, and poses a serious threat to people’s respiratory systems.
He also suggested that residents are easily irritated by barbeque smoke close to their windows.
It probably wasn’t Dang’s intent, but those “roadside barbecue spots, sizzling kebabs on the grill and cold beer” sound amazing and this author will never side with their destruction.