Barbecue Ban Fails to Help Chinese See Across Tiananmen Square

chinesebarbeqLloyd Alter writes at TreeHugger:

According to the Real Time Air Quality Index, a score of 150-200 is unhealthy, and “Everyone may begin to experience health effects; members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects.” A score of 201-300 is very unhealthy, “Health warnings of emergency conditions. The entire population is more likely to be affected.” Over 300: “Health alert: everyone may experience more serious health effects.”

It hit 271 on Sunday. On Saturday morning when I took these photos, you could barely see across Tiananmen Square. It made my eyes water and my throat sore. Much of it is from seriously damaging particulates known as PM2.5, or particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns, coal fired power stations and industries around Beijing are blamed. There are a lot of VOC’s (volatile organic chemicals); China Daily notes that these weren’t even measured until 2010.

“If we hope to see real changes to the country’s air quality, coordinated control of multiple pollutants, including VOCs, is a must,” Yang Jintian, head of the Atmospheric Environment Institute at the Chinese Academy for Environmental Planning, told China Daily.

“There has been no official data on the annual VOC emission level in China. The estimated figure is 25 million metric tons,” Yang said. “Our first step should be to find the exact number, before trying to keep emissions under control.”

However the real source of the problem is obvious to anyone in the City: the five million cars that seem to all be on the road at once. The city is surrounded by rings of highways, and every main street has been widened to six or eight lanes. Bicycles are almost nonexistent; pedestrians cannot cross a road without having to take bridges; life is impossible without a car now. To cross a single street to get from an office to my hotel, they had to drive me as the nearest pedestrian crosswalk was half a kilometer away. But that is a tough issue for the government to deal with; instead, they are banning barbecues. This is meeting some resistance:

[A] Beijing resident said, “Comparing with car exhaust and industrial pollution, this is a very small amount of pollution. And this is part of people’s lives, so I think they shouldn’t be banned.”

Read more here.

18 Comments on "Barbecue Ban Fails to Help Chinese See Across Tiananmen Square"

  1. Whatever, it’s all a made up conspiracy by the “rich bastards” to get you to buy from indoor restraunts. Clearly the indoor restraunts are owned by the people who adhere to the green movement. Because they want your money, oh and to be more convincing TAXES,because.

  2. Ted Heistman | Oct 6, 2013 at 8:33 am |

    And yet…if China hadn’t industrialized Guess what? They wouldn’t be a Global economic force to be reckoned with. All their wealth comes from them industrializing. If African Nations did this they would have a huge increase in Wealth also.

    Now’s the time for China to figure out how to stop poisoning the air though. But Its almost like this is a phase powerful nations go through.

    If you say you want zero growth and to de-industrialize the planet, like a lot of ecologists argue, you are basically saying you want developing nations to never develop-basically to stay peasants.

    • Downvoted because you capitalized the word wealth at the end of the first paragraph.

      But seriously, there are a wide variety of options between the two extremes of peasantry and breathing smog, and I’m sure there are ways of improving standards of living. Because the latter is not really an improvement over the former.

      • Ted Heistman | Oct 6, 2013 at 2:19 pm |

        I think when I point out facts of reality you think I am arguing for a specific viewpoint. The Fact is they Industrialized they created massive wealth and now they have pollution.

    • BuzzCoastin | Oct 6, 2013 at 1:49 pm |

      you’re absolutely right
      the turmoil between the dynasties lasted about 100 years
      and things didn’t really start to change until about 1995
      and between 1995 & now
      they’re racing to technologically advance
      100 years in a few decades

    • Perhaps you are unaware of new and old technologies that can be used in place of the status quo? Maybe you are ommitting this like you ommitted the cooling areas in your recent post here?

      Heck you can think of these technolgies as invasive species, cornering in on industries that are many shades more harmful.

      • Ted Heistman | Oct 6, 2013 at 2:58 pm |

        Do you think anybody in China is aware of these technologies or just you?

        • Yes they are aware, and it appears the east is more willing to adapt to these technolgies. China is the leader in developing decentralized renewable sources. Which is likely what Andrew meant when he noted the variety of options.

          Developing is the operant word.

          • Ted Heistman | Oct 6, 2013 at 3:31 pm |

            I guess if it makes you guys happy you can pretend I am arguing with you.

          • Very well, I admit that I missed your middle statement.

          • I’ll shift gears. Perhaps you don’t have the answers. Anyhow, why would ecologists want to de-industrialize, or ignore technology? There can be a synthesis of technolgy and nature. Which is like saying nature and nature, considering technology is a product of humans.

          • Ted Heistman | Oct 6, 2013 at 6:35 pm |

            well its complicated. I mean that’s the goal, but the economy is competitive and so all this stuff doesn’t get adopted. But I am for all that stuff. this kind of stuff

            Anyway To me its no secret that the West keeps the rest of the World down and they can recruit ecologists to their cause. They are perfectly capable of that.

          • That seems counter productive.

        • Calypso_1 | Oct 6, 2013 at 3:10 pm |


    • Jin The Ninja | Oct 6, 2013 at 5:34 pm |

      for what it’s worth, i upvoted you because your comment is 100% correct, and is 100% in line with what post-colonial scholars have been saying for the last 10 years- largely in response to marxist ecologists like david harvey.

      • Ted Heistman | Oct 6, 2013 at 6:07 pm |

        Yeah. I do know that they have a lot of people there concerned about ecology so I think they will get it under control. But at this point its a fact of life.

  3. BuzzCoastin | Oct 6, 2013 at 1:45 pm |

    the barbeque ban has been in place for at least 5 years
    and like all laws the average Chinese doesn’t agree with
    it’s not obeyed
    but it’s not just the cars, though they do make a contribution
    it’s the massive construction projects going on
    in a one square mile radius where I lived for four years
    just outside the 5th ring road
    I saw 50 new 35 story buildings go up
    a new mile square train station 2 miles away
    the main road near me was ripped up and redone 3 times in 4 years
    there’s a lot of dirt & dust in the air there
    the Gobi Desert is 150 miles away and blowing into town too

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