Air Quality In China

The quality of air in China has become a hot topic in recent years.

It has been bad for some time – I remember being appalled when I first moved to Guangdong in 2002. It seemed that the whole of Guangdong was covered in a blanket of smog that lifted only once a week or so. Here is an image from NASA circa 2002:

satellite image show pollution over China

It’s only gotten worse since then. It’s also gotten more high profile, with the crazy bad controversy and ongoing coverage in the foreign press reporting on China (although with little to none Chinese press coverage).

It’s been particularly bad in Beijing the last few day, breaking all the records with the Air Quality Index (AQI) soaring to 755, two and a half times worse than what would be considered “emergency conditions” in the US.

Leading China watcher, Bill Bishop from The Sinocism China Newsletter, tweeted the following, which is the most amazing visual example I’ve yet seen about just how bad the pollution is.

Here is the current AQI levels for some of the major cities in China:

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