It was a tough weekend for organisms in northeastern China that need to breath air to survive. Heavy smog blanketed many major cities, but nowhere so completely as in Shenyang.
On Sunday, the PM2.5 index in the city soared above 1,000 micrograms per cubic meter, even reaching 1,400 at one site, according to Xinhua. That is 40 times the limit the WHO deems as safe. The visibility in the provincial capital was reported generously at 100 meters.
“The readings from Shenyang are possibly the highest pollution levels ever recorded in China since the country began to monitor air quality and release real-time data in 2013,” the SCMP reports.
— Chris Buckley 储百亮 (@ChuBailiang) November 9, 2015
The air quality seems to have cleared up a bit today in Shenyang, down to merely toxic 300. However, things look a bit bleak in Changchun and Jilin, according to a real-time map from Berkley Earth.
Some pictures from Changchun over the weekend:
While in the past, China’s smog problems have been blamed on barbecues, the culpability for this latest airpocalypse seems to lie squarely on mass coal burning for winter heating. Last week, The New York Times reported that China burns up to 17% more coal than it says it does per year. Of course, it has already said that it burns a lot.
Xinhua has criticized Shenyang’s municipal and environmental authorities for their ineffective handling of the air crisis. Many residents questioned why authorities had not issued an emergency message about the severe air pollution sooner. Officials responded by explaining that their website had crashed.
[Images via CCTV // ChinaNews // NetEase]