Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Fact of the Day: Beijing Top 10 Polluted Capitals

We knew Beijing was pretty polluted, and a recent survey by the World Health Organization confirms that the Chinese capital is near the bottom of the list of nearly 1,100 world cities.
 
Beijing is the 10th dirtiest capital in the world, only cleaner than Ulan Bator, Gaborone, New Delhi, Islamabad, Riyadh, Dakar, Cairo, Dhaka and Kuwait City.
 
In addition, the Chinese city ranks 26th of 30 mainland cities in the survey, according to its 2009 reading of PM10s (tiny vehicle and dust particles of 10 micrometres or less) of 121 micrograms per cubic metre (mcg).
 
"We've achieved great progress, but there is much room for us to catch up," remarked Ma Yongliang of Tsinghua University.

There has been a lot of development in Beijing, but at a severe health cost.
 
Interestingly Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan were not included in the rankings, but if they were, Hong Kong would have 47 in PM10s (using 2009 readings) which means it would rank 870th along with Manila and Turin, Italy.
 
Haikou in Hainan province scored the best mainland city at 814th with a reading of 38mcg.
 
The WHO recommends an upper limit of 20mcg for PM10s, which can cause serious respiratory problems, including lung cancer.
 
While visitors to Beijing don't have to worry about the long term effects of being in the city, its residents do. Not only is the problem the constant development of the capital, but also cars clogging up the streets and ring roads creating more carbon emissions in the air.

The government doesn't want to completely stop the purchases of new cars and yet the city can't handle the now over 4 million cars on the roads.

And what about Hong Kong? We live in such a developed city and yet the government's inability to implement effective measures to combat air pollution is pathetic.

If people can't afford expensive flats, can't they at least have a healthy environment to live in? How about it, Chief Executive Donald Tsang? How many studies and figures do we have to show you to finally persuade you that the city's air pollution is making its residents sick? 
 

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