US Embassy Beijing Air Monitoring, Pollution Hype? Oh Yeah, the Smog Fogs the Brain, and Closes Beijing’s Airport …

Last month, environmental authorities in Beijing have accused the US embassy of “hype” after its widely-publicized measurements of air quality in the Chinese capital sparked concern.

“I’m not clear about their way and methods of monitoring or how they ensure the accuracy,” said Du Shaozhong, spokesman for the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau, according to the Beijing Times.

“But I feel their way of releasing (the data) is more like hype, and not a very serious attitude toward research.”

The last 48 hours, the air quality in Beijing according to the US Embassy’s reading has see-sawed between Very Unhealthy to Hazardous, with one Crazy Bad (Beyond Index) reading on Sunday. See!/BeijingAir. 

Melissa Chan of Al Jazeera illustrated the current air quality in Beijing and Vermont with a photographic comparison on Twitter last month.

Greenpeace East Asia has put together real-time apps, Twitter tracking air quality levels in different Chinese cities to “help you closely monitor the skies (and know to stay indoors on those ‘crazy bad’ days).” Check them out here.

Today, we saw the amateur video of what Beijing’s streets looked like yesterday morning, December 4 via WSJ’s China Real Time Report:

WSJ China Real Time Report notes that authorities in Beijing and most other Chinese cities measure air pollution by counting only particles between 2.5 and 10 micrometers in diameter. The US embassy counts particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5), which experts say make up the most of the city’s air pollution and cause more damage to the lungs.

Continue reading, Victory for U.S. Embassy as Beijing Chokes on ‘Heavy Fog’

A few hours ago, BBC reports that Beijing airport has cancelled hundreds of flights after a dense smog reduced visibility in the Chinese capital.

Also this piece from PRNewswire touting that the global residential air treatment systems market as highly dynamic and expected to show steady growth should be helpful:

Verify Markets estimates the global residential air treatment systems market to be over $2 billion in revenues in 2010. China was the largest market, followed by Japan and the United States.  The key drivers in most countries globally are poor indoor quality and rising awareness about poor air quality.  In China, purchasing power, steady increase in income levels and poor indoor quality are major market drivers.

The smog fogs the brain, that is all. Don’t believe what you see or hear or breath … it’s all a hype, of course.  But just in case, get ready with your 3M masks!