The breathable air has become a concern in smog-choked China. According to local media reports, most of the major cities in north-eastern China encountered heavy smog on Monday morning. The visibility in Shenyang was less than 200 metres (656 ft), measured at 0800 hours, local time (0000 GMT) on Monday. This grave situation has forced authorities to shutdown schools and highways for next 48 hours.
According to Skymet Meteorology Division in India, with the winters approaching in China, there will be further rise in smog as people fire up the coal plants, which will further turn the atmosphere into a toxic sauna. China’s first major “airpocalypse” of this winter season is in Shenyang. Last year too, similar situation was observed over Harbin in October, when the visibility had dropped to 10 meters leading to closure of schools and highways.
Severe weather conditions were enough to prompt local officials to close schools and warn millions of residents to stay indoors. These measures were not only taken to prevent hazardous health conditions, but also to avoid any untoward incident due to a poor visibility.
What’s behind the gray-out?
China is known to have the poorest air quality in the world. Officials blame lack of wind and the burning of corn for the harvest, but the fact that central heating started on Sunday was also a key factor. Heating is a big problem in China. As per a study published in May 2013, particulate matter in air on the north of the Huai River is 55% higher than in the south and life expectancy is also 5.5 years shorter. During the 90s alone, smog cost 2.5 billion life years to 500 million residents of northern China.