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

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

Physically and culturally close to Western Europe, Lviv feels solidarity with compatriots in country’s east but says they need to decide own future More

West African Women Disproportionately Affected by Ebola

Women's roles in families and the community put them at greater risk for contracting the disease, officials say More

Video NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft Arrives at Mars

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution craft will measure rates at which gases escape Martian atmosphere into space 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.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid