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A Breakdown of What Exactly Is in Beijing's Filthy Air

Climate Desk lays out the contents of China's air pollution.

Reuters

China's landlocked capital of 20 million people has experienced record-breaking pollution over the last few days. The South China Morning Post reported that visits to Beijing Children's Hospital hit a five-year high, with more than 7,000 patients a day. Bloomberg News found that heart attacks roughly doubled since Friday at Peking University People's Hospital. (H/t Shanghaiist).

Kids were forced to stay home from school as Beijing authorities enacted unprecedented measures to combat the thick, nostril-burning layer of grossness. They even banned the use of certain government vehicles. The "fog," as it is euphemistically known in China, is set to continue for a number of days and has prompted an unusual display of openness from the country's state-controlled press, calling for urgent action.

Climate Desk breaks down exactly what's in the air.



About the Author

  • James West
    James West is the editor and producer of The Climate Desk, a collaboration among The Atlantic, the Center for Investigative Reporting, Grist, Mother Jones, Slate, Wired, and PBS. He is the author of Beijing Blur.