From the excellent Denver Post pblogs comes these images that at the start of a new year offer little hope.
Beijing authorities cancelled hundreds of flights and shut highways as thick smog descended on the Chinese capital on December 4 and 5, reducing visibility at one of the world’s busiest airports. Air quality in Beijing reached “hazardous” levels on December 5, according to the US embassy, which conducts its own measurements, while China’s state Xinhua news agency said pollution was likely to reach “dangerous” levels.
Take a look at pollution across China from the past year.
A woman wears a mask as she makes her way along a street in thick smog in Beijing on February 21, 2011. Beijing went “beyond” measurable pollution levels, the US embassy said, as a Chinese official warned people to stay indoors and avoid outdoor activities. Air pollution in Beijing has been consistently listed as among the worst in the world by international organizations such as the United Nations. (GOH CHAI HIN/AFP/Getty Images
Photo taken on January 19, 2011 shows heavy smoke after an explosion ripped through an oil refinery in Fushun, northeast China’s Liaoning province. The blast shattered the windows of buildings 100 meters away and ignited a blaze later brought under control by firefighters, which left more than 30 people injured. No deaths were reported at the facility owned by a subsidiary of China National Petroleum Corporation. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)
Sunshine is filtered through particularist, as seen from Kowloon Peak, hanging over Hong Kong on February 6, 2011. According to the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) the pollution in Hong Kong ranged from medium to very high, with the pollutants such as respirable suspended particulates, nitrogen dioxide and ozone affecting the air quality. (ANTONY DICKSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Chinese children swim along the algae-filled coastline of Qingdao, in eastern China’s Shandong province on July 17, 2011. Green algae continues to spread in waters off China’s east coastline and although not poisonous, it can hinder the fishing industry and tourism in affected areas. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)