If you’ve been wondering why Beijing’s been so damn unseasonably cold lately, I submit this explanation: That spring sunshine we’ve all been pining for simply cannot penetrate the thick smog that’s been choking up our skies for weeks.
According to China.org.cn the China Meteorological Administration has announced that last month was the smoggiest March on record:
Nationwide, an average of 3.3 smoggy days were registered in March, 1.1 days more than the same period in normal years, the CMA said.Meteorologists attributed the record to ridges of high pressure that took control of the weather in most parts of the country.
The bad news doesn’t stop there – 2013 has already seen a 30% increase in Beijing’s air pollution and there appears to be no end in sight. In an article in the Economic Observer Chen Tian (陈添), head of the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau (BMEPB), cites the "high level of emissions" from both within the city proper and surrounding areas as a primary culprit.
Meanwhile, the government has made more pledges (to the tune of RMB 100 billion) to clean up the capital’s air and water pollution and sewage.
According to Reuters:
Beijing’s plan includes laying or upgrading 1,290 km (800 miles) of sewage pipeline, building five garbage incineration plants, setting up 47 water recycling plants and upgrading 20 sewage disposal plants, said China Daily … The government also plans to curb illegal construction and land use, and will compile a list of illegal buildings for demolition next year, Beijing Deputy Mayor Wang Wei told China Daily.
This is all well and good, but these measures may well be too little, too late – at this point, it will be damn near impossible to reverse decades of deforestation and given the massive economic conflicts of interest at play, any resolute action to shut down or upgrade all those smoke-belching factories surrounding Beijing seems equally unlikely.
You’ll have to excuse the seething pessimism of this post – just two years ago at this same time, the weather looked like this:
Let’s hope the forecast for clear skies over the weekend holds up.