Back to bicycles. Chinese officials order vehicles off the road to curb air pollution.

Air pollution in China reaching serious proportions

It has become a regular aspect of life in China, Shanghai officials have again warned children and the elderly to stay inside in a city where 24 hours exposure to the off-the-charts pollution can have hazardous consequences to one’s health.  Story and picture courtesy thinkprogress.. 

All week, the pollution level hovered at “heavily” and “severely” polluted, according to Shanghai’s Air Quality Index, at up to 31 times the recommended levels.

High pollution from factories can only be balanced with massive tree planting activities

Eerie photographs of Shanghai show a city in a yellow haze:

Officials have ordered vehicles off the road to curb air pollution, so far removing roughly 30 percent.
Despite warnings, runners who completed a Monday marathon complained of their lungs hurting.

This image from the city’s official index shows PM2.5, a small harmful particle for human health, at a concentration that almost broke the scale China uses to measure air quality, a range from 0-500.

Children and elderly are most at risk

A heat map from a Greenpeace analysis of NOAA data shows how the smog has traveled from coal-burning regions into the city. The sources come from coal regions Jiangsu, Anhui, Shandong and Henan.

What is China, and the world, doing to cut the sources of debilitating pollution?

In 2013, China has doubled its renewable energy sector, accounting for over half of new power capacity. Recognizing more recently that renewable incentives must be paired with consequences for fossil fuels, China is launching its first carbon trading scheme and more transparency of public health trends.

Presidents Barack Obama and Xi Jinping have also announced they will seek to eliminate potent greenhouse gasses and to phase down the consumption and production of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). US Vice President Joe Biden is in China this week, the U.S. and China discussed a more aggressive approach to lowering vehicle emissions.

Until China’s air problems improve, it is taking more than five years off the lives of northern residents.

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