Beijing's blue skies...or little white lies?
6th July, 2012
Fed up with fudged statistics Beijing’s increasingly environmentally-aware population has forced its Government to come clean about air pollution in the city.
The thick, toxic smog that descended over Beijing in the first week of December last year was nothing new. Residents of the Chinese capital have long been used to grounded flights, sore throats and skyscrapers shrouded in a dirty haze. But when freelance journalist, Meng Si, woke in the middle of the night to find her boyfriend ordering “PM2.5 resistant” face-masks online, she knew something was different.
“During that time, PM 2.5 was the hottest topic on Weibo [Chinese Twitter],” she says. “Widespread public campaigns on the environment are very rare in China – this one has been the biggest and most intense so far.”
PM 2.5 is shorthand for particulate matter measuring 2.5 microns or less in diameter, a pollutant that’s fine enough to penetrate human lung and blood tissue and which, it is alleged, can cause asthma, heart disease and cancer. In the final months of 2011, this ‘teccie’ slogan became a rallying point for Chinese urbanites fed up with not just poor air quality, but also fudged government statistics that excluded data on fine particulates and ozone which then allows it to class most days in the notoriously smoggy capital as...
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