Smog may be clas­si­fied a ‘dis­as­ter’

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By XIN­HUA

Beijing’s law­mak­ers are con­sid­er­ing listing smog as a me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal dis­as­ter, but the move has been ques­tioned, as smog is not seen as nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring.

The legal com­mit­tee of the Beijing Mu­nic­i­pal Peo­ple’s Con­gress said the draft is still un­der re­view.

Wang Zifa, a re­searcher at the Chi­nese Academy of Sciences’ In­sti­tute of At­mo­spheric Physics, was among a group of schol­ars rais­ing doubts over the listing.

Wang said man-made smog is a type of pol­lu­tion haz­ardous to hu­mans.

The schol­ars said listing mi­cro­grams smog as a me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal dis­as­ter could cause con­fu­sion and give pol­luters an ex­cuse to evade their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

The leg­isla­tive af­fairs of­fice of the Beijing mu­nic­i­pal govern­ment said smog is a com­pos­ite phe­nom­e­non formed by a com­bi­na­tion of pol­lu­tion and weather con­di­tions. As smog has be­come a se­vere haz­ard, the leg­is­la­tion would help push for cross-sec­tor govern­ment ef­forts in disas- days ter con­trol and im­prove pub­lic aware­ness.

The mu­nic­i­pal leg­is­la­ture started work on the re­vi­sion in May. It said that once smog is listed as a me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal dis­as­ter, the city must take emer­gency mea­sures in smoggy weather, in­clud­ing traf­fic con­trol as well as work and school sus­pen­sions.

The leg­is­la­ture said the amend­ment is a lo­cal reg­u­la­tion.

Chang Ji­wen, an en­vi­ron­men­tal pol­icy ad­viser with the State Coun­cil De­vel­op­ment Research Cen­ter, sug­gested smog be added to a reg­u­la­tion on at­mo­spheric pol­lu­tion con­trol, rather than clas­si­fied as a me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal dis­as­ter.

Beijing’s av­er­age den­sity of haz­ardous fine par­tic­u­late mat­ter from Jan­uary to Oc­to­ber was 64 mi­cro­grams per cu­bic me­ter, an an­nual de­crease of 8.6 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to the Beijing Mu­nic­i­pal En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Bureau.

The cap­i­tal had 172 days with good air qual­ity dur­ing the 10 months, 11 more than the same pe­riod last year.

Av­er­age den­sity of haz­ardous fine par­tic­u­late mat­ter per cu­bic me­ter in Beijing from Jan­uary to Oc­to­ber were recorded as hav­ing good air qual­ity dur­ing the first 10 months of the year in Beijing.

DING SHAN / FOR CHINA DAILY

A child is given an in­tra­venous in­fu­sion at the Beijing Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal on Wed­nes­day. Many chil­dren have re­cently been found ex­hibit­ing symp­toms of res­pi­ra­tory ill­ness, partly due to fre­quent smoggy days and sig­nif­i­cant changes in tem­per­a­ture.

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