China’s environmental problems have become such an embarrassment to its leadership that the country suddenly finds itself on a war footing. On Wednesday, Premier Li Keqiang, the second-ranked political leader and head of economic policy, formally declared a “war on pollution” in a speech before the annual gathering of the National People’s Congress. The reform is welcome news, but overdue — and the outlook of the strategy Li outlined is about as clear as the morning sky on your run-of-the-mill, suffocating Beijing day.
Li called for the closure of 50,000 small coal-fired furnaces, the removal of 6 million old, emissions-belching vehicles from the streets, and new guidelines for air quality improvement in seriously affected northern Chinese cities. He described the state of Beijing’s air as “nature’s red-light warning against the model of inefficient and blind development.”
“Like a lot of people, I forget readings as soon as I read them. I hope that after seeing the pictures people will start to pay attention to and protect our living environment. Data and theories are too abstract, but pictures can give a much more vivid picture…”
Read more about the horror: http://online.thatsmags.com/post/photos-this-is-what-one-years-worth-of-beijing-pollution-looks-like
Earlier this month, NASA’s Earth Observatory released the below photo, capturing a thick blanket of haze obscuring much of northern China. During that time, the depicted region experienced levels of smog that are 20 times higher than the World Health Organization’s safety limit, forcing Beijing to raise its air pollution alert to the second-highest level.