Stats Pr0n of the Day: Bejing is an Airport Smoking Lounge
This chart from Bloomberg News shows Bejing’s average concentrations of PM2.5, or fine particulate matter that can cause airway inflammation and leave residents at a higher risk for lung and heart disease. As you can see here, on January 12th, the PM2.5 count reached a peak of 886, which is 532% of the daily average found in 16 U.S. airport smoking lounges. In 2012, Greenpeace estimated that exposure to PM2.5 in China led to more than 8,500 premature deaths in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Xi’an. Hat tip to BoingBoing.
When a ranking Chinese government official slammed the U.S. embassy and consulates in China earlier this month for measuring local air pollution data, calling it “violating diplomatic conventions,” Chinese web users snapped back. “Can’t you see the bad pollution yourself?” asked one typical comment.
China’s censors have tremendous power in print, online, and even in public spaces such as Tiananmen Square. But when it comes to air pollution, even the Chinese government can’t obscure the facts. People see and breathe it every day.