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Q: What is up with the air pollution recently?

I live in Hangzhou, and it seems there has been a sudden and sharp increase in the pollution over the last month. I have been here for a long time and never noticed it being this bad.

 

Anyone know why? Is it the same where you live?

6 years 24 weeks ago in  Health & Safety - Hangzhou

 
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Maybe it is the colder weather: people turning on heaters and an increased demand for electricity. crying

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6 years 24 weeks ago
 
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Same thing in Suzhou, Jiangsu

   * Usual level of pm 2.5 pollution is 140
   * Since Saturday, level is at 200

   * Since yesterday, level is peaking at 300
   * For reference, Paris is at a level 30 to 40... on the bad days.

My throat is itchy, foul taste on my tongue.

I don't have any data for solid explanation :( I tend to think like Sorrel. Weather is getting cold, people turn the heating on. Most of the heating is done with electric power, itself generated mostly from coal. Moreover, insulation for buildings seems to be unknown hear, walls are bare concrete, single glazing is the rule. So it makes the heating very inefficient, requiring more electric power, thus more coal burning. People have more money, so they are less restrained to turn the heat on. Some weather pattern might push the nasty cloud of pollution from North this side of the Yellow River.

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6 years 24 weeks ago
 
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Governor

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even in my city, which prides itself for the clean air, it's been dismal lately.  normally i would attribute it to the weather like sorrel and the good old DrMonkey, but in the northeast the weather hasn't been as cold as it was in the past few years... yet.  so less need for heaters.  we have had less wind this winter, and we are known for being a windy province.  so maybe the pollution has just been building up and not being pushed out... which i guess is caused by weather... so i put my foot in my mouth... my answer is weather.

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6 years 24 weeks ago
 
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Same story in my province, Jintan- Jiangsu. Really really smoggy and polluted the past 4-5 days I've noticed. Real bad, I would have even wore one of those masks if I had one, as it's pretty scary to look at. 

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6 years 24 weeks ago
 
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Here in Nanning it is the same. The AQ index on my phone normally rates the city at between 50 and 80, we have even been down to 34. At the moment it is 173 and it has been up and down for the last couple of weeks. Certainly not as bad as some places but bad enough.

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6 years 24 weeks ago
 
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The last 3 nights, when I've been out, I come back smelling like I've been at scout camp grilling marshmallows and sitting downwind from the fire. I actually didn't think it was done all the way down here, but smells like someone is burning coal to stay warm. (despite the temperature being 20C) 

Most o China's heat is produced by coal power, a lot of people also have electric heaters. Sadly in most cases the powerplants that produce power doesn't also use the heat from power production to heat water for central heating. Add to this that all the plants are of Vicotrian design and no filtering is done of what comes out of the chimneys.

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6 years 24 weeks ago
 
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Maybe it's the beginning of a new catastrophe...mother earth is about to get a new hairdo.

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6 years 24 weeks ago
 
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I heard pig blood can clean our body. Maybe it's worth a few meals.

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6 years 24 weeks ago
 
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See the Air "Quality" here http://aqicn.org/map/china/

 

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6 years 24 weeks ago
 
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China absolutely refuses to make improvements. They instead choose to make excuses,blame others, or point at other countries and say they have/ had the same problem. 

This is why things in China are getting worse with no hope of improving.

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6 years 24 weeks ago
 
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Nanjing has reached up to 440-450 as of today.

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6 years 24 weeks ago
 
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Nanjing has reached up to 440-450 as of today.

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6 years 24 weeks ago
 
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Shanghai is beyond 500 now, WTF...Xiamen - 154, that's unusually high too...

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6 years 24 weeks ago
 
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Update, something is going on. I was bothered that I couldnt see across the river before, so I asked this question. But I just woke up and looked out the window and I cant even see the building across the street.

I thought about getting a flight out of here til it blows over. But all flights are grounded due to zero visibility...

 

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6 years 24 weeks ago
 
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I predict this winter will be just as bad or worse as last winter. The big cities in the north will disappear in a thick cloud of toxic crap. The difference this year is that the propaganda ministry is prepared, they've curbed peoples ability to share their bitching on Weibo and WeChat. NOTHING has been done to improve the air quality, but over the last year 20000000 people have moved from villages to the big cities, probably millions more cars on the street and even more problematic, more old cars that are for each day of being ill-maintained, output thicker and thicker exhaust. 

On the bad days a lot of people will be wearing surgical masks because they think it helps. The state run "information channel" know as CCTV will do nothing about telling people how dangerous it actually is or how to protect themselves. And there sure as hell will be no reporting from a place like Seoul, Frankfurt or New York, where people live in harmony and breathe relatively clean air

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6 years 24 weeks ago
 
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Honestly, cars are just a small part of the problem. Coal for power generation is the massive culprit here, I think (based on a Wikipedia page, coal-induced air pollution is like 90% of it). So why this winter is particularly bad ?

Some hypothesis, just hypothesis

* Higher demand for power. Plausible, but still, why this crazy jump in pollution levels. Suzhou is around 140, we are 350/400 now. (Note the lofty standard, 140 is the norm, when 50 is supposed to be bad already). How it could have doubled/tripled in one single year ?
* Using low quality coal. Low quality coal is cheaper to mine, but the exhausts are worse, and the smell of the smog is consistent with that. The economy is slowing down here, and any information related to the economy is strictly under control. Maybe using cheap & dirty coal is a way to cut corners ?
* More coal-fired power plants ? But they did not like double the count in one year, so I would not count on that. From one source, I saw there are about 300 coal-fired power plants under construction right now. Yeah, the kind that does not filter the exhaust, like all the existing ones.
* Uncommon weather pattern, where the exhaust of the coal-fired power plant stays trapped in China's East Coast instead of flying away as usual.

By elimination, I would say it's a combination of uncommon weather pattern and using really nasty low-quality coal. Using coal in such massive quantity (roughly 75% of the electric power productio here) is terribly wrong anyway. That stimulus package from 2008, why not spending some of it for cleaner power ? Ho, wait, that would benefit everybody, not a minority.

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6 years 24 weeks ago
 
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