Tuesday, October 22, 2013

China blames weather for hampering efforts to banish smog

Adam Rose in Reuters: China's battle against a persistent air pollution crisis, which all but shut down a city of 11 million this week, is being hampered by tough weather conditions, an environmental official said on Tuesday.

Air quality in cities is of increasing concern to China's stability-obsessed leaders, anxious to douse potential unrest as a more affluent urban population turns against a growth-at-all-costs economic model that has besmirched much of the country's air, water and soil. The government has announced many plans to fight pollution over the years but has made little apparent progress, especially in the country's north and northeast.

Harbin, a frigid northeastern city of 11 million people, virtually ground to a halt on Monday when a pollution index showed airborne contaminants at around 50 times the levels recommended by the World Health Organisation.

"This severe smog, first of all, is caused by climate conditions," Fang Li, the deputy chief of Beijing's municipal environmental protection bureau, told reporters....

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