Date
19 July 2018
Canton Tower in Guangzhou (L), the southern Chinese city where air quality readings worsened this week. Picture on the right shows a high-speed train in Beijing caked in grime after dense smog enveloped the city. Photos: Weibo
Canton Tower in Guangzhou (L), the southern Chinese city where air quality readings worsened this week. Picture on the right shows a high-speed train in Beijing caked in grime after dense smog enveloped the city. Photos: Weibo

Smog spreads to Guangdong and Taiwan but spares Hong Kong

With northern China still covered by heavy smog that caused serious pollution in recent days, the southern province of Guangdong is also beginning to feel the bad air as the smog continues to spread out.

Since midnight Thursday, some air quality monitoring stations in Guangzhou, Foshan, Zhaoqing, Shaoguan and Yunfu have been recording high pollution levels, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

The average Air Quality Index in Foshan was above 400 on scale of 0-500 last night, while that in Guangzhou was also higher than 200, which is considered not fit for outdoor activities, on Thursday.

Elsewhere, Shenzhen too saw its air quality begin to worsen Thursday afternoon.

Meanwhile, smog also managed to cross the strait and hit Taiwan, causing air quality in several of its cities in the western region to reach “dangerous” level.

But for people living in Hong Kong, they can consider themselves lucky.

Data from the Observatory showed the Air Quality Health Index in all of the city’s districts was low to medium on Thursday, suggesting smog coming down for northern China had much less impact on Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, smog has become the hottest topic on Chinese social media, with people calling on the government to reveal the truth as to how serious the air pollution is and what authorities plan to do to tackle the problem.

A netizen said the State Council should clarify whether there is any truth in the talk that 300,000-500,000 tons of sulfur is being released into the air in the country due to burning of more than 10 million metrics tons of imported high-sulfur crude oil, Apple Daily reports.

Another netizen who identified himself as a lawyer called on the public to stand up and fight against smog, like what people in the United Kingdom and in the United States did in the 20th century.

Such comments went viral but have since then disappeared from the social media platforms, with authorities suspected to be censoring what they deem as sensitive content.

Here’s a time-lapse video, taken by a British expat in China, of smog rolling into Beijing:

Credit: Chas Pope

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