Beijing Water

Weibo Watch: Issue 11

(June 13, 2012) In this instalment of Weibo Watch: In March, Beijing announced it would build Asia’s largest trash incineration plant. In Yunnan, April was an especially cruel month: 273 rivers dried up, leaving people to weep as they tended to their fields. Meanwhile, the monitoring ofPM2.5 fine particulate air pollution has stepped up in China as pressure mounts to reduce particulates and the causes of air-borne pollution.

The most reliable source of air pollutants in Beijing has been the US Embassy with its hourly tweeted readings taken from a pollution monitor on top of the embassy building. This month, however, the Chinese government warned the US Embassy to stop telling the world how bad the capital’s air really is, reports Peter Ford for the Christian Science Monitor. According to Deputy Environment Minister, Wu Xiaoqing, only the Chinese government is permitted to measure and publish data on air quality in China whereas the US Embassy tweets, Wu alleges, are in violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Although, the Beijing municipality website also publishes hourly readings of PM2.5 fine particulate air matter it regards as especially dangerous, it does so 24 hours after the fact. It also releases an average figure for air quality over the previous 24 hours, but without characterizing the data as good, bad or hazardous. The US Embassy is more forthcoming: on November 19, 2010, when the Air Quality Index soared above 500 – the top of the US scale and 20 times higher than World Health Organization guidelines – the embassy’s tweeted air update read simply, “crazy bad”. Now, readings over 500 are more generally described as “beyond index”. Mr. Wu claims it isn’t fair of the US Embassy to judge Chinese air by stricter American standards, given China’s “current stage of development”. The embassy’s @BeijingAir Twitter feed is nevertheless still posting. A recent tweet described the city’s air quality as: “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups.”

February 16, 2012: According to Shanghai’s Environmental Protection Bureau, the Shanghai government is set to release PM2.5 monitoring data to the public in June. The government is also expected to introduce various measures to control PM2.5 air pollution, at that time. @谷润网:2012年2月16日,上海市环保局有关领导透露,上海预计今年6月份将正式向公众公布PM2.5监测数据,并采取多项措施加强对颗粒物的控制。上海已向环境保护部提出要成为第一批监测和公布的城市之一,正在加快有关PM2.5监测的各项准备工作。

March 25, 2012: East China’s Zhejiang Province today began releasing the daily mean PM2.5 concentration for seven of its cities. On March 30, neighbouring Jiangsu Province began publishing air quality data collected from 13 of its cities. Although, China is stepping up its air quality monitoring, the debate on the effectiveness of monitoring technology and where monitoring stations should be located has never ceased. @新华视点:3月25日,浙江七城市公布了每日PM2.5日均值,30日,江苏13城市PM2.5检测数据正式上线……,全国性的PM2.5检测数据公布提速,但针对国内PM2.5检测方法和标准的争论却一直没有停下来过。http://weibo.com/1699432410/ydWm2uypF

March 24, 2012: New Beijing News – Beijing needs 18 to 20 years before its PM2.5 fine particulate air matter readings will reach the national standard, said Hong Feng, the deputy mayor of Beijing, at a recent conference on the environment. To achieve that goal, he said three approaches would be needed: the elimination of high-emission motor vehicles, the expansion of green coverage and a reduction in coal burning. @室内空气环境: 据新京报,近日举行的全市环境保护工作会议上,副市长洪峰表示,北京PM2.5治理将分三步走,达标至少需要18到20年。http://t.cn/zO9Dy7N

Weibo Watchers respond

@新闻老兵 writes: Twenty years to clean Beijing? After 18 to 20 years you may find that lungs are a little more comfortable … On March 23, 2012, at a conference on environmental protection, Beijing’s vice mayor said that by 2030, the PM2.5 annual average concentration for Beijing will have dropped from the current 70 micrograms per cubic meter (even though the U.S. Embassy has recorded a reading as high as 522), to 35 micrograms per cubic meter. @新闻老兵:20年就能把北京洗干净? 你穿越到18至20年后的北京,你也许会发现:自己的肺舒服了一些。2012年3月23日,在全市环境保护工作会议上,北京市副市长洪峰表示,到2030年,北京PM2.5年均浓度从目前的70微克/立方米(美国驻华使馆发布的PM2.5浓度曾高达522)降至35,就“达标”了 http://t.cn/zOo7nOV

@有机蔬乐惠:Beijing needs 20 years, what about other cities? By then our generation will be in their eighties! From now on, it’s save yourself! @有机蔬乐惠: 北京都需要20年那其它的城市呢,到那时我们这代人都七老八十的了!从现在起自己救自己吧!

@有机蔬乐惠: Experts say that Hangzhou’s annual PM2.5 concentration average has not met national standards in the last six years. Internal monitoring shows that between 2006 and 2011, PM2.5 readings did not meet the air quality standards of Hangzhou (the capital of Zhejiang Province). Now, Hangzhou is releasing daily PM2.5 from three collection points in the city. The Zhejiang Provincial Department of Environmental Protection is encouraging other cities near Hangzhou Bay to release PM2.5 data, as soon as possible. @有机蔬乐惠:【杭州6年来PM2.5年均值从未达标】专家透露,2006~2011年的内部监测表明:杭州6年来,PM2.5年均值从未达标。昨天起,杭州每天公布3个PM2.5监测点数据:朝晖五区、卧龙桥和浙江农大。省环保部门鼓励非杭州湾城市尽快公布PM2.5监测数据。http://weibo.com/1700720163/ycI4bsQHI

@杭州恰恰: The three collection points [in Hangzhou] are in areas of particularly good air quality, and are not representative of the city’s PM2.5 levels. It can be imagined that the readings from other parts of the city are much worse. @杭州恰恰: 这三个点都是设在绿化特别好的,或者公园附近,不具有真实代表性,可想而知其他地方更糟。

PANDA文刀宝盖丁: People in ‘Heaven’ don’t need lungs to breathe? Will oxygen tanks be necessary in future? PANDA文刀宝盖丁:"天堂"的人们难道不需要用肺呼吸??以后出门要背氧气筒了。

March 13, 2012: New Beijing News – This year,Beijing will strive to take the lead on pollution from exhaust fumes with the introduction of a National V standard for vehicle emissions. The Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau announced the draft of Beijing’s new V emissions standard for passenger cars and light-duty vehicles. Compared to the National IV emissions standard, the V standard is stricter on nitrogen oxide emissions (which it is aiming to decrease by 25%). It is also the first time an auto policy instrument will include a limit on emissions of fine particulates, in an effort to reduce the contribution of motor vehicles to PM2.5. 绿猫网[新京报: 今年年内北京将力争在全国率先实行国Ⅴ排放标准,减少机动车污染物排放。昨天,市环保局公布了京Ⅴ轻型汽车排放标准的征求意见稿。相比国Ⅳ排放标准,京Ⅴ排放标准中氮氧化物排放限值严格了25%,首次单独规定了颗粒物(PM)的排放限值。这些都将有效减少汽车排放对PM2.5的贡献。http://auto.sina.com.cn/news/2012-03-13/0719933998.shtml

March 6, 2012: @Cao Jingxing – On the first day of the National People’s Congress, Premier Wen Jiabao announced the start of PM2.5 monitoring for cities in the Bohai Sea Region, Yangtze River Delta, Zhujiang River Delta, as well as all provincial capitals. Such monitoring will then extend to every city at the prefecture level and higher by 2015. Respirology expert Dr. Zhong Nanshan says that this timeline is too slow. He says nationwide PM2.5 monitoring and management of key areas should start this year. @曹景行: 人大开会第一天,广东团的钟南山院士认为,温家宝报告中规定今年开始对渤海地区、长三角、珠三角及省会城市监测PM2.5,2015年推及其他城市,步子太慢。今年就应该做到全国范围监测,重点地区管控。http://weibo.com/1871721375/y8GKC7Ii3

Weibo Watchers respond

April 4, 2012: @SMW Weekly – Can I say a dirty word about Chinese gasoline? In addition to the issue of gas prices in China (which is even higher than in the U.S.) is the awkward fact that it is of inferior quality. Gasoline has become a main contributor of PM2.5 pollution in China. @南都周刊:【我能对汽油说脏话吗?】在高过美国的油价背后,是油品低劣的尴尬事实。中国的汽油,已成为PM2.5的主要来源之一。http://weibo.com/1641532820/yd4PwE6Za

April 5, 2012: @环保董良杰 – Environmental scientist Dong Liangjie has said that 16.7% of China’s famous Westlake Longjing tea exceeds the 2.0 mg/kg lead concentration standard set in 2005. Dong notes that tea leaves picked in the spring tend to have higher lead concentrations than those harvested in summer. However, he says lead pollution in Hangzhou (where the tea is from) is a contributing factor. This confirms that lead, a constituent of PM2.5, is affecting urban areas. 【特别科普:龙井茶铅来源】西湖龙井茶叶16.7%含铅超05年前国标2.0毫克/公斤. 春茶铅高过夏茶,除土壤铅污染生长期长外,已证实与杭州空气铅相关。评:城里铅随PM2.5扩散是常识。http://weibo.com/2013536464/yda0ojAME

March 5, 2012: New Beijing News – The largest waste incineration power plant in Asia will be located in Beijing’s Mentougou District and is slated to be ready for trial production this October. Zhu Jimin, representative of the National People’s Congress and chairman of the Shougang Group (one of China’s largest steel companies), said the plant is expected to produce more than 300 million kWh of electricity a year, and supply heat and power to four regions of Beijing. 新京报2012年3月5日:位于门头沟区的亚洲最大垃圾焚烧发电厂有望在今年10月试生产,预计年发电量超过3亿度。据全国人大代表、首钢集团董事长朱继民介绍,该发电厂将为门头沟、石景山、丰台和海淀4个区供电供热。

Weibo Watchers respond

[Undated] @水手精灵扎记: The biggest waste incineration plant in Asia will be built in Mentougou, Beijing! Secondary pollution from waste incineration is a world-class problem: how can it solve the production of dioxin?! @水手精灵扎记:北京门头沟将建亚洲最大垃圾焚烧厂!垃圾焚烧二次污染是世界级难题,产生的二噁英对环境二次污染是否能得到解决!http://weibo.com/1777628803/y8y0wvFSu

April 11, 2012: @China Rubbish BBS – The price of garbage power is set at 0.65 yuan/kWh, but if you add in the government’s new energy subsidies, will the power industry be given the right to print money overnight? Adjusting state energy subsidies in favour of companies generating power from garbage shows policy support for incineration. @中国垃圾论坛:垃圾发电并网标杆电价确定为0.65元/度,加上新能源法的补贴,发电企业不是要一夜暴富了?国家调整垃圾发电企业的补贴,是政策上明显支持垃圾焚烧。 http://weibo.com/1935770912/ye9sSDrPu

April 11, 2012: @环卫科技 — Some support for waste incineration should be maintained, how else will we solve the garbage problems in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzho, and other large cities? I’m sure that some will suggest waste sorting (recycling), to which I say: we should take a look at historical experience, not just present-day practices of effective waste disposal in other countries. @环卫科技: 略有保留的支持垃圾焚烧,不上焚烧厂,谁能告诉我,像北京、上海、广州以及其它大中城市,如何解决自己的垃圾问题?我相信一定会有人高呼垃圾分类,那我建议你们多了解一些国外搞垃圾分类的历史,千万不要只看他们的现状。http://weibo.com/1409163750/ye9FpuV96

March 16, 2012: @济溪 – Domestic waste incineration power plants are dodgy. Up to now, China has lacked comprehensive data on dioxin emissions, as well as reliable data on the emissions of waste incineration plants, which have already been in operation for a long time. Without data, there is no truth: PM2.5 and dioxins cause cancer! @济溪:【国内垃圾焚烧厂运营状况堪忧】目前为止,中国对二恶英排放一直缺乏全面的数据信息, 那些存在已久的垃圾焚烧厂究竟排放如何,亦一直缺乏可靠数据的披露。没有数据,就没有真相——想想PM2.5吧——二噁英致癌!http://weibo.com/2709228462/yac194OOg

February 28, 2012: New Beijing News – Xinhua Press Agency reports that 273 rivers ran dry during the severe drought in Yunnan (the province has suffered three consecutive years of drought since 2009). The toll of drought has caused water problems for 3.19 million people and 1.58 million animals; jeopardized urban water supply; closed or half closed businesses, and has cost the economy 10 billion yuan in direct economic losses. The water situation may become still more serious before the rainy season begins as the effects of the drought and the consumption of existing water continues. 2012年02月28日 新京报:云南大旱273条河流断流。据新华社电。严重旱情已造成云南省319万人、158万头大牲畜不同程度存在饮水困难,部分城镇供水紧张,部分企业、厂矿已经处于停产停工或半停产状态,全省因旱直接经济损失已达100亿元左右。随着旱情的发展和现有蓄水消耗,雨季来临之前,全省抗旱保供水形势有可能更为严峻。

Weibo Watchers respond

@大话材料: During a recent phone call with my dad, the severe drought in Yunnan dominated the conversation. Hearing about this happening in Yunnan, the only place I could really call home, was heartbreaking. How much old-growth forest has been razed? Are the Honghe and Jinshajiang rivers ok? In the last 10 years, local government and business oligarchs have engaged in predatory development and caused great losses to Yunnan. The cause of poverty is the poverty of rights. The most immediate victims were deprived of the right to participate in the decisions. @大话材料: 最近和我爹打电话绕不过的话题是云南大旱。这是世上我唯一可称为故乡的地方,家园之痛犹感肺腑。过去十年,地方政府和业界寡头联手掠夺性开发,云南失去了多少原始次生林?金沙江…红河是否还是旧模样?我看贫困的根源恰恰是权利的贫困,最直接的受害者恰恰被剥夺了参与决策的权利。http://weibo.com/2037063365/yeMjZqpXT

简单生活818tt: Now Yunnan and Guizhou provinces are suffering from severe drought, with some areas more dry than in the previous 100 years. Where did all of the charitable organizations go? Who will save our people? 简单生活818tt:现在云南、贵州等地大旱,一些地区旱情己超过去年百年一遇的大旱。为什么,现在中国XxX慈善组织几乎集体消失了?谁来救救我们的人民?http://weibo.com/2480607734/yeLxMeIjt

代宝贝地盘: Yunnan is in a severe drought, while other flood-affected areas have become splash carnivals: crazy shortages side-by-side with too much! 代宝贝地盘:云南大旱之年,这么满大街的泼水狂欢,疯狂之余还是有点点奢侈 http://weibo.com/1847645593/yeILozIfM

黑暗系_小妖: It’s been a long time since I’ve been out to the countryside! Today, going out with my dad, I saw this scene: I felt so sad. Dear God, please, show your mercy on the people of Yunnan … Rain! 黑暗系_小妖: 很久没到乡下了!今天跟老爸踏青,看到这一幕,我心疼了……老天爷,求求您了……云南大旱,您就可怜可怜云南人民吧……下下雨吧!http://weibo.com/1962674700/yeHKN1beZ

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