This is something that State Capitalism in China should be focusing on. Most returning visitors to China, when asked for their observations of that mysterious and distant land, mention the population density in China’s major cities and the air pollution. According to a recent article in the Economist, Chinese authorities have only been willing to reveal measurement data for PM10 (solid particles in the atmosphere measuring 10 microns across) and not for PM 2.5 (measuring 2.5 microns but capable of getting deep into people’s lungs. When people realized what the government was doing, they revolted and the data is now reported for Beijing and a few other cities
For the rest of China only PM10 data are available. “But the government’s hand may soon be forced here, too. Though pollution data are best collected near the ground, a plausible estimate may be made from the vantage-point of a satellite by measuring how much light is blocked by particles, and estimating from those particles’ chemical composition the likely distribution of their sizes. And a report prepared for The Economist by a team led by Angel Hsu of Yale University does just that, drawing on data from American satellites to map out PM2.5 pollution across the entire country.
World Health Organisation guidelines suggest that PM2.5 levels above ten micrograms per cubic metre are unsafe. The boffins have found (as the map shows) that almost every Chinese province has levels above that. Indeed, much of the country’s population endures air so foul that it registers above 30 on the PM2.5 scale, with Shandong and Henan provinces topping 50. Because these readings reflect the average pollution that a typical resident in a province is likely to endure during a given year, they underplay the sharp spikes in pollution that are seen on particularly dirty days, when spot readings go much higher. That is why Beijingers should take little comfort from the fact that the capital’s pollution measures only 35.” (Economist)
In a recent post, I mentioned about scientists not focusing on the broader implications of surveillance technology. I find this use of technology highly appropriate; others may think differently. For example our US Congressman representing the polluting plant south of Dallas, Texas.
I wonder what the PM data are for Ellis County and its surroundings.