John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Gawk at 290 days of lung-charring air pollution and a few clear skies.
For Beijing, 2015 was a year of smoggy milestones. The city issued its first-ever “red alert” for toxic air pollution. The fad of tracing buildings’ haze-obscured outlines hit social media. A man turned particulate matter into high art by shaping a brick out of smog.
With 2016 upon us, perhaps it’s time to celebrate Beijing residents surviving yet another lung-begrimed year. (Some of them, anyway.) And China’s meteorological agency has done just that with a photo mosaic of 290 days, showing both clear weather and sooty, slug-colored pollution. Take a gander:
On the third day of the New Year, the old problem of smog continues to linger in the Chinese capital.
Looking back on the air quality of Beijing in 2015, China Meteorological Administration (CMA) on Saturday unveiled mosaics of Beijing sky over the past year, using photos taken by a photographer who calls himself ‘Zang Hong’ online.
From the blue skies before the V-day Parade back to August when Beijing tightened environmental control efforts, to the grey days with heavy pollution, the photographer recorded almost every day in 2015.
Judging from current conditions, it’s likely a similar smoggy mosaic could be made at the end of 2016. Particulate matter hit “unhealthy” levels in Beijing on January 5 and 6, according to a U.S. outpost that tracks China's air quality, with potential health effects including an increasing “likelihood of respiratory symptoms in sensitive individuals, aggravation of heart or lung disease, and premature mortality in persons with cardiopulmonary disease and the elderly.”