Tuesday, 5 November 2013

China is groping its way through another ‘airpocalypse’

by Zhang Yansuang

The cold weather has come, the coal-powered heating has been switched on, and China’s north is once more swathed in thick smog. Air pollution has been a worsening problem in China in recent years, and a problem that has sparked huge public protest on Chinese social media. But has anything been fixed? Residents of Harbin would likely say “no”.
Two years ago in December 2011, a nation-wide debate over air pollution on Sina Weibo - China’s most popular microblogging service - focussed public attention on the scientific term “PM 2.5”. PM 2.5, or particulate matter 2.5, refers to tiny particles or droplets in the air that are 2.5 microns or less in width.
Exposure to fine particles can affect lung function and worsen medical conditions such as asthma and heart disease. Studies also suggest long term exposure to fine particulate matter may be associated with increased rates of chronic bronchitis, reduced lung function and increased mortality from lung cancer and heart disease.
But why was the Chinese public so interested in such an obscure term?
Read the full article at The Conversation

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