Climate change attracts smog

GLOBAL warming has boosted the frequency and severity of deadly air pollution in northern China, scientists say.

Toxic particles in the air cause nearly a million premature deaths in the country every year, according to earlier research. “Climate change increases occurrences of weather conditions conducive to Beijing winter severe hazes,” a team reported in the journal Nature Climate Change.

In Beijing and other major northern cities, the number of days each year with weather tailor-made for extreme smog rose from 45 to 50 in 1982-2015 compared with the previous three decades – a 10 percent jump.

The trend is set to worsen if global warming continues unabated. Persistent episodes of health-wrecking hazes would become another 50 percent more frequent – and last nearly twice as long – during the second half of this century, the scientists found.

The main danger is particle pollution, especially toxic, microscopic flecks smaller than 2.5 micrometres in diameter. It comes mainly from coal burning, vehicle emissions and dust. These specks can cause severe respiratory problems, increase the risk of heart disease and affect the immune and nervous systems.

An official report showed 265 of the China’s 338 biggest cities failed to meet new health standards for small-particle pollution. Air pollution in Guangdong (廣東省) meanwhile continues to affect Hong Kong as monsoon wind brings smog southward, aggravating pollution in the SAR to dangerous levels on some days.

(This article is published on Junior Standard on 28 March 2017)

How China’s dirty air becomes Hong Kong’s problem

Air: Environmental Protection Department