News / Asia

Heavy Smog Sparks Online Fears in Chinese City

A pedestrian walks across a bridge above a main road on a day with high air pollution in Beijing, June 6, 2012.A pedestrian walks across a bridge above a main road on a day with high air pollution in Beijing, June 6, 2012.
x
A pedestrian walks across a bridge above a main road on a day with high air pollution in Beijing, June 6, 2012.
A pedestrian walks across a bridge above a main road on a day with high air pollution in Beijing, June 6, 2012.
VOA News
Chinese authorities Tuesday denied rumors of a poisonous industrial leak in the city of Wuhan, in central Hubei province, after a thick yellow fog engulfed the city and its surrounding area starting early Monday morning.
 
The province's environmental protection department said on its web site that the smog was the result of straw burning, but advised people to stay indoors as much as possible and wear a protective mask outside.
 
"We exclude any industrial pollution causes behind this abnormal weather," the note said.
 
Speculation online had linked the unusually heavy smog with an industrial leakage, and users posted pictures of Wuhan engulfed in smog, next to photos of the same location on a clear day.
 
Local police posted an announcement online Tuesday saying that they had detained two Internet users who had spread rumors about the unusual haze.
 
According to the police, the users had claimed that the poor atmospheric situation was caused by a chlorine leak at a chemical factory, or by an explosion at a steel plant. Noting that such false information had "caused panic among the netizens," Wuhan police advised people to be wary of Internet rumors.  
 
Later on Tuesday, the topic of "Wuhan haze" was trending high on Chinese microblog Weibo, with some people remaining skeptical of the official explanation.

"Industry explosion still seems like the true version of events," one Internet user from Wuhan wrote on his microblog. "Then I might delay my plans to come back to Wuhan," a friend responded.
 
Wuhan's level of PM10 - polluting matter smaller than 10 micrometers in diameter - was more than three times the daily average, Chinese state media reported.  
 
Straw burning, which officials point to as the culprit of Wuhan's yellow haze, also affected the air quality of Beijing before the start of the 2008 Olympic Games, with city officials imposing temporary bans on wheat straw burning in neighboring provinces.
 
Air quality is a major issue in Chinese cities, where official measurements often show lower levels of pollution compared to outside sources.
 
The U.S. Embassy in Beijing has installed a pollution monitor on its roof, and for three years has been providing hourly updates on the quality of the capital's air. In most cases, such readings showed much more severe levels of pollution than the ones recorded by Beijing's Municipality Environmental Monitoring Center.
 
Last week, deputy environment minister Wu Xiaoqing told reporters that the U.S. initiative was illegal, and that only the Chinese government was allowed to measure and publish information on air pollution.
 
On Tuesday, Liu Weimin, spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, did not give details of the situation in Wuhan, but acknowledged that air quality is a grave challenge to China in the course of its development.
 
"China is making every effort to further improve the air quality," he said, but added that the country is still at the initial stage of the industrialization process.
 
"The issue of air quality is unlikely to be solved overnight," Liu said.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: John from: Wuhan
June 15, 2012 7:26 AM
I was visiting Wuhan during the smog, and it worried me much, so much that I left early from a 3 week visit. I hope that foreign consulates will publish air quality of Chinese cities on a daily basis, because I am sure most people do not trust the official reports.

by: Wangchuk from: NYC
June 14, 2012 9:46 AM
The US Embassy should go on reporting the actual air quality in Beijing. US Consulates in other Chinese societies should also independently report the local air quality. The pollution information from CCP sources is inaccurate & they use a lower standard than many other countries. People in China need accurate pollution information, not political propaganda from the CCP.

by: Vaméri from: US
June 12, 2012 2:08 PM
They have eagered to make giant leaps on economic developement but they relax on polution standard, air and water polution are terrible in China and Vietnam. Big corps are busy making money at the expense of people health.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs