As Beijing residents are once again advised to stay indoors amid choking air pollution, some environmentalists are pessimistic about the possibilities for a thorough clean-up. From Bloomberg:
“I haven’t seen the smog stay so long like this for years,” a 40-year-old woman who only gave her last name, Zhou, said after buying two air purifiers for more than 13,000 yuan($2,000) each in downtown Beijing. “This seems to be the only solution for us. You used to just open the windows to get fresh air at home, but now you can’t do that since it’s even dirtier outside.”
[...] Official measurements of PM2.5 rose to 993 in Beijing on Jan. 12. The city has proposed rules to scrap old vehicles, ban new cement and steel factories, and impose fines for roadside vendors barbecuing food on smoggy days.
Further measures to clean up the capital may be difficult because much of Beijing’s smog comes from surrounding regions, Ma Jun, a Beijing-based environmentalist and founder of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, said in a phone interview.
“China is the world’s biggest steel producer, and half of China’s steel is produced in areas around Beijing such as Hebei and Tianjin, mostly by burning coal,” Ma said. “How can the region stand this?”
People with an entrepreneurial spirit have started to make money by selling fresh air in cans. From John Garnaut at The Sydney Morning Herald:
Chen Guangbiao, whose wealth is valued at $740 million according to the Hurun Report, sells his cans of air for five yuan each.
It comes with atmospheric flavours including pristine Tibet, post-industrial Taiwan and revolutionary Yan’an, the Communist Party’s early base area.
Mr Chen told Fairfax Media he wanted to make a point that China’s air was turning so bad that the idea of bottled fresh
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