Lifestyle & Belief

Beijing smog moves citizens and media to vent online


Smog has engulfed China's capital, causing hundreds of flights to be canceled and sales of face masks to surge.



Chinese citizens have gone online to vent about the recent thick smog that has blanketed Beijing, not only canceling hundreds of flights but raising health concerns, the Associated Press reported.

Not only have millions went online to voice their frustration, sales of face masks have soared and Beijing’s main airport canceled hundreds of flights due to poor visibility on Sunday and Monday, the AP reported. This is the world’s second busiest airport.

Read more at GlobalPost: Amid smog, special air filters for Chinese leaders

The United States embassy in Beijing collected pollution readings on the roof of its building, finding that the air hovering above has been “hazardous” since the beginning of November, the Daily Telegraph reported. On Tuesday visibility got better, but 89 domestic and 11 international flights were canceled by the afternoon, the AP reported.

Even the Chinese media has spoken out about the hazardous conditions, “starting to question the government's line that the nasty pollution is simply slightly dirty "fog,” GlobalPost reported.

Beijing’s Global Times reportedly used the word “smog” in their headline on Tuesday, the Atlantic reported. The China Daily also compared Beijing to London in the 1950s and noted that lung cancer rates surges by 60 percent in the capital in the past decade, the Daily Telegraph reported.

A Twitter feed linked to “special air monitoring equipment in the US embassy” gave a clear picture of Beijing’s pollution. GlobalPost’s Kathleen E. McLaughlin reported:

“Writing on China Dialogue, environmental consultant Steven Q Andrews said an analysis of the @BeijingAir Twitter feed from the US embassy showed that air pollution in Beijing was at unhealthy level 80 percent of the time over the past two years. China's own assessment of the pollution is far sunnier, with officials apparently worried that telling citizens what is in the air could lead to social unrest. The government has agreed to start measuring some of the pollutants it doesn't currently track, but not for another four years.”

On Tuesday the US embassy’s pollution index called the air “very unhealthy,” the AP reported.