Her er en opsamling om den episke forurening, der lige nu er ved at kvæle Kina. Hvis du ikke har set fotos af den, så se mine billeder for eksempel her og her på Kinablog. The Atlantic har i øvrigt en rigtig god billedserie med 31 fantastisk forurenede fotografier.
New York Times skriver, hvordan Beijing forsøger at komme forureningen til livs med forskellige lappeløsninger og nødplaner, og hvordan lederne – bedre sent end aldrig – er begyndt at anerkende problemerne:
The Beijing government put in place emergency measures on Wednesday to try to combat thick smog that has encased the city, which the Communist Party has hailed as a showcase capital, in brown and gray soot. The measures include temporarily shutting down more than 100 factories and ordering one-third of government vehicles off the streets, according to official news reports.
Officials have also begun acknowledging the severity of the problem. Xinhua, the state news agency, reported that Wang Anshun, the newly appointed mayor of Beijing, said Monday that the government had come up with a preliminary plan to curb the pollution.
“I hope we can have blue skies, clean water, less traffic and a more balanced education system,” Mr. Wang said at a session of the municipal legislature, in a broad reference to quality-of-life issues.
Mr. Wang also told lawmakers that “the current environmental problems are worrisome.” He said the number of vehicles in Beijing should be allowed to increase, but slowly. The Xinhua report said there were about 5.18 million vehicles in Beijing, compared with 3.13 million in early 2008.
ABC News skriver, hvordan det netop er de almindelige kinesere, som lider under luftforureningen, og hvordan salget af anti-forureningsmasker er eksploderet og blevet nyeste mode i Beijing:
Masks have become the new fashion on Beijing’s streets. The number of online searches for the word “mask” has jumped by 5,304.3 percent compared to last month, according to figures released by Taobao, the biggest online shopping site in China. There are more than 100,000 masks being sold every day this month in Beijing alone.
Ordinary medical masks do not provide enough protection. Some Beijing citizens have taken more serious measures by wearing gas masks. In one Beijing city office, as many as 20 workers wore the protective headgear at their desks, according to AFP.
Wall Street Journal fortæller, hvordan centralregeringen forsøger at overbevise borgerne om, at det er alles ansvar at bekæmpe forureningen. Hvilket er nemt sagt. For regeringen forsøger også samtidig at bekæmpe civilsamfundets magt, og partiet slår konsekvent ned på alt, der kan true dets monopol på magten. Og hvor meget bidrager private egentlig til smoggen, spørger WSJ:
First, the contribution of individuals to China’s air pollution problem is small compared to that of companies and power plants. The China Daily story quotes Xiao Yan, a 30-year-old lawyer who takes public transportation in Beijing to the dismay of her colleagues, as saying vehicle emissions are “not much less than those from industry.” That may be true as far as major cities are concerned, but it’s also misleading.
Although vehicle pollution is a large and growing source of urban air pollution, it isn’t clear how much passenger vehicles are contributing to the smog that has engulfed Beijing over the past few weeks. Almost 80% of fine particulate matter, known as PM2.5, emitted from vehicles in China comes from diesel-powered trucks, which represent less than a fifth of the country’s vehicle fleet.
And while Beijing itself is home to relatively few smoke-spewing factories and steel mills, heavy industrial pollution from surrounding areas has a way of blowing over to blanket the city.
Bloomberg har interview med den altid lytteværdige Ma Jun som ikke tror, at Beijing kan gøre meget for at komme af med smoggen:
Further measures to clean up the capital may be difficult because much of Beijing’s smog comes from surrounding regions, Ma Jun, a Beijing-based environmentalist and founder of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, said in a phone interview.
“China is the world’s biggest steel producer, and half of China’s steel is produced in areas around Beijing such as Hebei and Tianjin, mostly by burning coal,” Ma said. “How can the region stand this?”
Guardian kommer også med et fingerpeg om en af de store syndere til den massive forurening lige nu: Kul. Avisen skriver som andre medier om nye tal som viser, at Kina bruger næsten lige så meget kul som resten af Verden lagt sammen:
China now burns nearly as much coal as the rest of the world combined.
The country’s appetite for the carbon-intensive fuel rose by 9% in 2011, to 3.8bn tonnes, meaning it now accounts for 47% of worldwide coal consumption.
The growth, revealed by US government figures on Tuesday, was driven by China’s booming economy, which has grown at an average rate of around 10% over the past decade. China overtook the US as the world’s biggest carbon emitter in 2007, and became the world’s biggest consumer of energy in 2010.
Research out last November suggested that 1,000 new coal-fired power plants are planned worldwide, with 363 in China and 455 in India. If all the plants were built, it would put the world on “a really dangerous trajectory” for climate change, experts at the World Resources Institute said.