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Pollution Levels Are Off the Charts in Northeast China

Beijing and the surrounding areas of Tianjin and Hebei ranked among the five worst polluted Chinese provinces, said Greenpeace. (Image: michael davis-burchat  via flickr  CC BY-ND 2.0)
Beijing and the surrounding areas of Tianjin and Hebei ranked among the five worst polluted Chinese provinces, said Greenpeace. (Image: michael davis-burchat via flickr CC BY-ND 2.0)

Pollution levels in the northeastern Chinese city of Shenyang on Sunday were an astonishing 50 times higher than what the World Health Organization (WHO) considers as safe.

Many of the city’s 5 million residents stayed behind closed doors over the weekend to wait out the toxic smog that consisted of PM2.5 particles, which are small enough to penetrate the lungs and enter the blood stream. Once in the body, they can contribute to health problems such as heart disease, stroke, emphysema, and cancer.

“As far as we are aware from the data we have been observing over the past few years, this is the highest ever PM2.5 level recording [in the country],” Greenpeace campaigner Dong Liansai said, reported AFP.

Visibility was also reduced to just a few dozen feet, which led to the grounding of flights and the closing of highways, reported The New York Times.

Considered the birthplace of the Qing Dynasty, modern Shenyang is situated in a region known for its heavy industry, much of it powered by coal.

See the video below from Newsy World about the current pollution problem in China:

Greenpeace says that the burning of coal is the number one source of harmful air pollution in China.’

Earlier this month, The New York Times stated that for the past 15 years Chinese officialdom has under-reported China’s coal use.

According to the report, official data says that emissions were actually 17 percent higher than what was previously stated. This is close to an additional billion tons of carbon dioxide being emitted into the atmosphere each year.

Greenpeace last month said that pollution in the first nine months of this year greatly exceeded national standards in almost 80 percent of the cities across China.

According to the environmental group, 367 cities were found to have four times the maximum level of PM2.5 particulates recommended by WHO.

Beijing and the surrounding areas of Tianjin and Hebei ranked among the five worst polluted Chinese provinces, said Greenpeace.

The toxic smog that covers large parts of China causes the premature deaths of hundreds of thousands of Chinese citizens each year, reports AFP.

Watch how “Apocalyptical” China’s pollution is in this episode of China Uncensored:

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