Beijing: Way worse air than ours

Valley air is notoriously bad. That’s led to sketchy regulations like the home-fire ban. But the Valley’s pollution pales compared to the air pollution in Beijing.

Compared to Beijing, Valley air is like the air of the Alps after a snowfall.

“Beijing’s particle pollution this past week was about 25 times worse than the threshold for the San Joaquin Valley’s wood-burning ban,” Fresno Bee reporter Mark Grossi blogs here.

Valley air never gets as as bads as the “Beijing fog.” Except perhaps after fireworks, Grossi says. 

Here’s a picture of Beijing air taken when the PM 2.5 (small-particulate pollution) was in the low-300s, the  ”hazardous” range. It looks like a day of heavy Valley tule fog. The PM 2.5 readings in the past few days are more than double this pollution level — “an astounding 755 on an air quality scale of 0 to 500,” The New York times reports.

It’s so bad, Chinese censors are allowing state media to report on it. As wheezing people flood hospitals, the government also ordered all government vehicles off the road.

And so progresses the Great Leap Forward. The Chinese are determined to catch up with the West — even if it kills them.

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    Michael Fitzgerald

    Mike Fitzgerald is The Record’s award-winning metro columnist. His column runs in the paper three times a week. Born in San Francisco, he was raised in Stockton. His column covers diverse beats including, sometimes, the offbeat. Read Full
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