In Beijing we are all supposed to be happy with the great efforts of our beloved leaders to achieve so many blue sky days.
Unfortunately, it’s all a lie and for the past 12 months we live with average AQI values of 150 (i.e. the readings of PM2.5 thanks to the USA Embassy). We all know the Embassy is right and representative of the whole Beijing city area. (the normal limit would be AQI=50)
Even official sources in China are starting to question the validity of the official figures, as reported in China Daily.
Well, in Hong Kong they are in great panick because API figures are going over 100. Lucky people! Can we have your air pleeeeeaaaase?
According to recent studies by the University of Hong Kong and other institutes, air pollution causes about 10,000 deaths per year in the Pearl River Delta including Hong Kong and Macao.
The South China Morning Post reported details on 20 January (see here abbreviated version). Their values: they measure as in Beijing, i.e. micrograms of PM10 per cubic meter.
See here a typical reading from the USA Embassy in Beijing:
21 Jan 2011; 12:15; Past 24hr: PM2.5 avg; 52.9 micrograms; AQI=130; Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
HKU links pollution to increased mortality risks (by SCMP – Elaine Yau)
(pictures are all from SCMP)
For every kilometre of reduced visibility, an additional 70 deaths occurred every year over a decade, a University of Hong Kong survey has found.
Chief researcher Professor Anthony Hedley said visibility was strongly negatively correlated with air pollution, especially with particulates and nitrogen dioxide.
“Loss of visibility kills people,” he said. “The higher the pollutant concentrations, the lower the visibility. Every kilometre in reduced visibility increases our mortality risks.”
The team, which analysed 360,000 deaths between 1996 and 2006 along with data from the Observatory, took into account factors including humidity, temperature and the incidence of flu epidemics.
Postdoctoral fellow in community medicine Professor Lai Hak-kan said that the average visibility in the city over the past four years was 12.6 kilometres, well below the norm of 30 kilometres from a 50-metre structure.
The university’s associate professor in community medicine, Dr Wong Chit-ming, said the situation was alarming. “The visibility in the city was five kilometres yesterday, with 84 micrograms of particulates every cubic metre,” he said.
The World Heath Organisation sets the minimum safety levels at 20 micrograms every cubic metre.
But Hong Kong set the level at 55 micrograms.
Rob Chipman, the chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, said last week that pollution was becoming one of the most serious threats to the city’s competitiveness.
The findings of the survey were published in the academic journal Environmental Research.