To consolidate, disseminate, and gather information concerning the 710 expansion into our San Rafael neighborhood and into our surrounding neighborhoods. If you have an item that you would like posted on this blog, please e-mail the item to Peggy Drouet at pdrouet@earthlink.net

Monday, February 3, 2014

China smog so bad the daily sunrise is broadcast on giant TVs for residents who can't see it


By Chloe Glover, January 19, 2014

LED screens around the city are now broadcasting the natural sight we take for granted as the first wave of health-threatening smog hits.

Dense: Screens break up the air pollution in Beijing, China
Dense: Screens break up the air pollution in Beijing, China

Do not adjust your set - this screen is now the only chance Beijing residents have of seeing the daily sunrise in their city.

Broadcast on giant panels usually reserved for tourist advertisements, the footage highlights the extent of the problem of dangerous air pollution.

A lack of sky vision has become such an issue that people now flock to the screens which are located at several points.

Air pollution monitors issued a severe air warning to inhabitants on Thursday and urged the elderly and school children to stay inside until the air quality reached a safer level.

  Air pollution in Beijing, China
Sunrise? Dim glow smothered by smog
 Those that had to brave the acrid odour to travel to work donned face masks to try limit the effects of the smog on their health.

Smog is the visible evidence of a mixture of emissions, such carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide.

Although the city is renowned for having poor air quality yesterday's PM readings, which are used to measure the density of pollution,  reached 671 micrograms.

This is 26 times higher than the 25 micrograms the World Health Organisation considers safe and the highest since January 2013.

According to newspaper reports the government has pledged to cut coal use by 2.6million tonnes and channel $290bn into promoting cleaner air.

TV Sunrise is a Fraud, But Extreme Air Pollution in China Isn’t


By Beth Buczynski, January 23, 2014

pollution in china

Air pollution in China is so bad, we all believed it when the Internet claimed Beijing residents had to watch the sunrise on television. That story turned out to be a fraud, but the pollution that inspired it is real, and headed for America.

Over the weekend, I was appalled by a post in my Facebook feed. It was an article published by the UK’s Daily Mail featuring what has become a familiar scene over the past few years: Beijing smothered in smog. What made this image different was the massive LED television screen. The article claimed that pollution was now so severe in Beijing that residents now watch radiant sunrises broadcast on a huge screen in Tiananmen Square. Like this:

tiananmen-sunrise pollution in china

The Internet went crazy, and the article was reposted and shared by some of the biggest media outlets. Within 24 hours (as is often the case) those willing to dig a bit deeper exposed it as a fraud. While Tiananmen Square does indeed have a massive television screen, it’s purpose isn’t to provide pixelated vitamin D–the image that had everyone in an uproar was just a moment in a longer commercial meant to promote tourism. Just because this story was blown way out of proportion doesn’t mean air pollution in China really isn’t as bad as we thought, however. It is. Maybe even worse.

Just days after the fake sunrise story went viral and then fizzled, the Guardian (a much more reputable UK news outlet), reported on a new study that found air pollution in China isn’t staying in China. In fact, it’s traveling in large quantities across the Pacific Ocean to the U.S. West Coast, increasing the number of smog days for Americans.
“We’ve outsourced our manufacturing and much of our pollution, but some of it is blowing back across the Pacific to haunt us,” study co-author Steve Davis, a scientist at University of California Irvine, said in the Guardian article.

“Between 17 and 36% of various air pollutants in China in 2006 were related to the production of goods for export, according to the report, and a fifth of that specifically tied to US-China trade.”
Though we criticize China for its lack of environmental regulation, we’re actually a big part of the problem. The United States imports a massive amount of Chinese goods, from electronics to food. We’re the customer who demands cheaper goods faster, and like a good supplier, China has done whatever it must to please us. Even if it means polluting its own air and soil.

So though air pollution in China has not yet made fake sunrises a necessity, it very well could in the future. And if China loses its ability to see the sun, our own line of sight won’t be very far behind.