Nightmare in Beijing: Pollution so bad, Chinese government tells schools to keep children indoors
Environmental groups like to portray the West and, in particular the United States, as the world’s biggest polluter. But that’s because many of those folks have never been to China, where—thanks to rapid industrialization and lack of government oversight—the rapid, irreversible poisoning of the country’s natural resources is occurring.
That includes the poisoning of future generations of Chinese. As reported by the state-run China Post, authorities in Beijing have warned in recent days that the pollution hanging over the city will remain heavy for days to come and is so bad that they are urging the suspension of outdoor school activities and construction projects.
The Post noted that the government’s warning comes in the form of an “orange alert,” which is the second-highest in a four-stage system. Officials said the alert means there will be at least three consecutive days of heavy smog, which will fill the air with dangerous levels of toxins. A red alert means that heavy air pollution is expected to persist for more than three days.
Local authorities in China’s capital city advised kindergartens, primary and middle schools to keep all kids inside and not let them play out of doors. There was no mention of the city’s high schools, which the Post said focus mostly on indoor preparations for testing.
China is the world’s largest operator of coal-fired power plants
Building sites all over the always-expanding city were also being targeted by authorities because their equipment only adds to the toxic exhaust, dust and other pollutants looming in the air.
The warning system was launched three years ago in response to worsening—and chronically bad—air pollution throughout Beijing, amid rising public concern over air quality. It is one tool authorities are using to address the problem after decades of extreme economic growth and industrialization that led to the construction of hundreds of coal-fired power plants and skyrocketing automobile ownership.
Officials have said they are making progress. In recent days environmental officials in Beijing said that a key indicator of bad air quality—the density of particulate matter PM2.5—fell during the first 10 months of 2016.
In addition, global environmental organization Greenpeace East Asia said that levels oftoxic heavy metals including arsenic, cadmium and led in the PM2.5 in Beijing has been declining rapidly since 2013. The organization said the drop was tied to the closing of a number of coal-fired power plants in and around Beijing.
That said, the Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center acknowledged that air quality in the megatropolis was only going to get worse in the near term as the coal-powered winter heating system activates across northern China. And it’s unclear how many Chinese have their own air filtration systems in their homes.
Plus, just because a state-run newspaper says things are getting better in Beijing, pollution-wise, doesn’t make it so. The country’s hyper-economic growth has brought with it new wealth, for certain, living millions of Chinese out of poverty. But it has all come at a heavy environmental cost; China, like neighboring India, is causing permanent damage to its citizenry through its industrialized toxification of its air, water and soil.
Why Chinese food products cannot be truly “organic” if grown in the open air
As we have reported, China and India have more coal-fired power plants than the rest of the world combined, and China has built more of them than India, which is also struggling to adjust to skyrocketing economic growth. The pollution being generated by China is so bad, in fact, that Japanese scientists have complained that the peaks on the nearly 13,000-foot Mt. Fuji are coated with toxic mercury.
Also, as we have noted, China’s environmental damage is so pervasive that it is impossible for the country’s so-called “organic” food growers to make that claim. Writing in 2013 Natural News founder/editor Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, reported that when it comes to foods and nutritional supplements from China, the organic food market is largely a hoax because there are no limits to how much heavy metals like arsenic and lead and mercury are permitted in “organic” products.
On that issue, in October we reported that such contaminated foods were nevertheless entering the United States marked as organic, when in fact they were cultivated and grown in contaminated soil using contaminated water.
In fact, U.S. Customs personnel often turn away food shipments from China because they contain unsavory additives and drug residues, are mislabeled, or are just generally filthy. Some Chinese food exporters have responded by labeling their products “organic,” though they are far from it, we reported.