From: Matthew Currell, Ecologist, More from this Affiliate
Published December 13, 2013 06:48 AM

Shanghai air quality crisis

Shanghai is experiencing unprecedented levels of pollution. Last week fine particulate levels reached almost 20 times WHO guidelines, and they are still at dangerous levels. Matthew Currell reports on China's pollution crisis.

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The huge economic and health costs of pollution are estimated to consume approximately 5% of China's gross domestic product.
The current "airpocalypse" emergency in Shanghai - which has seen schoolchildren ordered indoors to protect them from the polluted air, flights grounded and companies ordered to cut production - comes at the end of a year in which China's environmental crisis reached a tipping point.

"I hardly dare to breathe", wrote one Shanghai resident on Weibo, China's equivalent of Twitter. It's a sense of despair and frustration felt around the country about hazardous levels of pollution.

On 6th December the level of fine particulates reached 483 parts per million, almost 20 times the World Health Organization guideline level of 25 ppm - scoring the highest of six levels of air quality health alert. By yesterday levels had declined to 183 pmm - still over seven times the WHO guideline.

Air pollution is a deadly problem. When thick smog blanketed Beijing early this year, there was a spike in children and elderly people needing urgent medical help, with Beijing Children's Hospital seeing around 3,000 patients a day with respiratory problems.

Pudong, Shanghai image via Shutterstock.

Read more at ENN Affiliate, The Ecologist.

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