Chinese Media Puts Positive Spin on Its Smog Problem, Touts 5 "Benefits"
December 11, 2013 12:39 PM
"It makes people funnier" is just one of the many benefits, apparently
China has had some serious
issues with smog
lately, to the point of closing schools and delaying or canceling flights. But the Chinese media has put quite a spin on these recent problems with pollution, insisting that there are five benefits to choking on the air you breathe.
, China's state broadcaster CCTV attempted to shine some absurd light on the smog situation by listing five reasons as to why this air pollution is beneficial. The list is as follows:
It unifies the Chinese people.
It makes China more equal.
It raises citizen awareness of the cost of China's economic development.
It makes people funnier.
It makes people more knowledgeable (of things like meteorology and the English word 'haze').
This list is one of the more imaginative spins seen on a poor situation. Not even former Iraqi Information Minister
Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf
can top this one.
China's smog problem has certainly escalated in recent weeks, and since the country is trying to make Shanghai in particular a hub for new business, this air pollution isn't doing it any favors.
Last week, hundreds of flights were delayed or cancelled in Shanghai on Friday alone, citing record levels of air pollution.
Schools were affected as well, as hazardous air pollution forced them to shut down or cancel outdoor activities in at least two cities in eastern China on Thursday. Some schools cancelled outdoor activities on Friday, too.
The Shanghai government issued its most severe health warning last Friday afternoon when the city's pollution index ranged between 23 times and 31 times the levels recommended by international health officials.
The Shanghai government said the level of PM2.5 particulate matter reached 466 on Friday, which is categorized as "severely polluted."
China's smog problem [Image Source: Sensible Reason]
PM2.5 particulate matter involves small particles in the air that are the most hazardous to health.
The U.S. Consulate in Shanghai took a reading of a whopping 503.
This is definitely not good news, as the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends no more than a reading of 20 as a daily level. Anything over 300 is labeled hazardous.
The Chinese government has said that it would battle the smog problem, but its efforts don't appear to be working too well.
In a recent
report, the United States offered to help China crack down on vehicle emissions in order to combat the air pollution situation. More specifically, the U.S. said it would offer technical assistance to create a new round of vehicle emissions standards -- known as China VI -- which would require cars to have filters that capture particulate matter.
This could be a helpful step in fighting smog, considering the fact that China's Ministry of Public Security said passenger car ownership in China reached 120 million by the end of 2012, and will top 200 million by 2020 at the current growth rate.
However, China V standards for diesel and refined gasoline will be the next to be introduced, and they will not take effect until 2017. But the good news is that the standards will lower the sulfur content limit to 10 parts per million.
The most recent reports on Chinese air pollution are certainly not the first. Back in July of this year, a study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology reported that
heavy pollution in northern China
causes citizens in that area to have lower lifespans than those in the south. In fact, the study says that the 500 million people who live north of the Huai River will lose 2.5 billion years of life expectancy because of air pollution. Breaking it down further, each northerner has a 5.5-year drop in life expectancy compared to southerners.
Way back in 2008, a NASA study said
15 percent of America's air pollution
is from Asia. A year before that, China became the world's
top CO2 emitter
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