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China Science

China Chokes On Smog So Bad That Planes Can't Land ( 166

Major cities across northern China choked Monday under a blanket of smog so thick that industries were ordered shut down and air and ground traffic was disrupted. From a report: At least 23 cities issued red alerts for a swath of pollution that has hovered over much of the nation since Friday, China's Xinhua news agency reported. Alerts are expected to remain in effect through Wednesday. Hospitals set emergency procedures in motion to deal with an influx of breathing-related illnesses. Large hospitals in the port city of Tianjin, less than 100 miles southeast of Beijing, saw a surge in asthma and other respiratory issues, China's People's Daily reported. The pollution forced the city to close the highways and caused delays and cancellations for dozens of flights, Xinhua said.
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China Chokes On Smog So Bad That Planes Can't Land

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  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Monday December 19, 2016 @05:27PM (#53516697)

    This is what you get with low cost manufacturing!

    Trump is right china is gaming the system.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Trump is hobbling the EPA so badly that by the time he's done our smog will be so bad that we can't land airplanes either.

      This is what you get with Trump / Putin's anti-environment policies.

      Choke on it, fascists.

      • by OzPeter ( 195038 ) on Monday December 19, 2016 @05:44PM (#53516841)

        Trump is hobbling the EPA so badly that by the time he's done our smog will be so bad that we can't land airplanes either.

        We'll have the best smog. The yugest smog. We're going to bring 1,000,000 smog manufacturing jobs back to this country.. Our smog will be so great that even the Chinese will be envious.

        And not only that I'll build a wall to stop our smog going to Mexico! If Mexican's want our smog they'll have to pay for it!

      • Choke on it, fascists.

        Don't worry, they will. But, then, so will everyone else.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Trump hasn't hobbled the EPA. He's president elect, not president. Nothing he has said or done so far changes the law or the actions of the EPA.

      • by Luthair ( 847766 )
        Make America Grey Again.
      • You think she would see fit to regulate the biggest polluters, i.e. her best friends? Maybe she'd tell them to "cut it out" like she did with wall st. before the 2008 collapse.
      • Trump is hobbling the EPA so badly that by the time he's done our smog will be so bad that we can't land airplanes either.

        Not true - the smog will be so dense, you can land on top of it.

    • by Harlequin80 ( 1671040 ) on Monday December 19, 2016 @05:48PM (#53516883)

      It's not just their manufacturing. Their transport contributes massively as well.

      That said, have you been there?

      A billion people are moving from essentially subsistence living to a modern urban lifestyle in the course of 30 years. To achieve this there is mass construction going on everywhere. Construction of everything from roads to power stations to factories. But you are talking a society where lots and lots and lots of people have basically no disposable income, which means the cheapest possible vehicles are the only option. When you go to the absolute bottom of the transport section your efficiency is poor and your pollution is high.

      The west already went through this. However they went through this when their population was a fraction of todays levels. It meant that the gross amount of pollution emitted was lower but the per capita level was much higher.

      China is trying to control their pollution output, and one of the good things is that technology exists today to reduce it. However we aren't going to see a drop soon unfortunately.

      • by hnjjz ( 696917 ) on Monday December 19, 2016 @06:17PM (#53517179)

        It's not just their manufacturing. Their transport contributes massively as well.

        While manufacturing and transport do contribute to air pollution in China, the biggest contributor by far is the use of coal for heating during winter. This is very obvious in northern China, where regulations specify the dates on which heating for buildings start and end. There'll be blue skies and clean air right up to the date when winter heating starts and then heavy smog and air pollution immediately after. This is also why the smog problem is a lot less severe in southern China, even though most of China's manufacturing and economic development over the past two decades were concentrated in the southern regions around Shanghai and Shenzhen.

        • Yeah that heating thing is weird. I was there in easter and it was hot but all the hotels were being heated. It was down right unpleasant.

          I think coal probably produces the most raw polution, but I would be surprised if it wasn't their cars that cause the most in-city smog. When you have that many cars and trucks moving slowly through your cities it would have to have an effect.

          When I was there I had a day that was smog so bad your visibility was down to 200m and then the next day clear skies to the hori

        • by Reziac ( 43301 ) *

          Chemical (primarily manufacturing)


          Particulate (coal)


      • Most of their population is concentrated in the eastern half of their country. They need to spread out to the western parts, like Xinxiang, and resettle people there, then they'll be even
      • You are correct on many points but I think you missed another very important point. China is doing now what Europe and America did in the late 1700s and early 1800s. They are going through an industrial revolution. When this happened in the UK they had air quality issues too, possibly much worse than this even.

        This is a classic example of those not learning from history are doomed to repeat it. China is a society built by the vision of a small group of people which has been imposed on the rest of the population by force and fear. It's also quite possible these elite few do know their history, know that their policy puts the public under such misery and threatens their health but they don't care. They would much rather take a path that creates greater wealth and power for themselves even if that means the rest suffer.

        China though could be a lesson for the rest of the world. I keep hearing on how we need more government to control global warming and pollution. Well, China has a society that has a near total control of every aspect of the lives of the people in their nation and they have the worst air quality in the world. A question I have for these big government types, once the government has the ability to tell the people what kind of toilets they can buy, the kind of light bulbs, cars, soft drinks, clothing, the size of their house, the number of children, and on and on then what motivation would they have to care if the people don't like the air quality that their policies produced? If it takes smart people in government to tell us what to do to make our lives better then what is there to make sure that it is smart people that remain in government? Free elections perhaps? Freedom to speak?

        The people in China are constantly lied to by the government, no doubt "for their own good" in the eyes of the government. The Chinese government claims this smog is the result of a natural event. They also know better because they have shutdown factories in response.

        China is a polluted hell hole because they are going through an industrial revolution. It will remain a polluted hell hole until the people are free to choose who is in government and are free to speak out against their government. We've seen this before. History doesn't repeat but it does rhyme.

        • More like 1950ies. []

        • by athmanb ( 100367 )

          I find your segue into the anti-government rant a bit weirdly placed. Air quality is a textbook example of a "problem of the commons" situation - probably the biggest of them all because the atmosphere is literally one giant planet-spanning commons that everyone draws from.

          And personally I cannot see a solution to the problem of the commons other than through goverment. Because even if people do realise they are also hurting themselves by polluting, it doesn't change the fact that a benefit from polluting l

          • And personally I cannot see a solution to the problem of the commons other than through goverment. Because even if people do realise they are also hurting themselves by polluting, it doesn't change the fact that a benefit from polluting less will be shared by everybody, while the costs of doing so are only applied to them.

            Someone that wants clean water to drink won't be shitting in the community well, right? It's not too hard to imagine people wanting to minimize pollution if you realize that these people that are doing the polluting are living in the same world as the rest of us.

            It also doesn't take the "big hammer of government" to enforce policies against pollution. For example, think of a person that knows that lead in gasoline has the potential to do permanent damage to the brain development of their children. Is thi

            • by athmanb ( 100367 )

              People aren't going to shit into the town well, but even there I am willing to question how far that is because they are aware of the consequences of their action, and not simply because they knew they'd get a beating from all the other townspeople. There'd certainly be people that would readily do so as long as there was another well somewhere else that they could drink out of.

              But even that common sense you describe seems to go away really quickly as soon as the damage isn't completely obvious. In many pla

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          China has learned from history. It saw how the west sacrificed millions of people's health for industrial progress, and decided that it was worth them doing the same thing. In fact a lot of people in the west make exactly the same argument - that it was worth polluting the world and burning all that fossil fuel to get the benefits we saw.

    • by hambone142 ( 2551854 ) on Monday December 19, 2016 @06:05PM (#53517071)

      Hey, no problem. The air is clean here. We outsource our pollution to China and India.

      Corporate CEOs love that stuff. It's what they get measured by.

    • by plopez ( 54068 )

      You should see what NAFTA did to Juarez. Very much the same thing though not as large or dense. And pollution does not respect political boundaries the people of New Mexico and West Texas get to enjoy it too.

    • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
      I remember when they used to talk that way about the smog in New York City and LA, back in the 70's. Nixon had just created the EPA and they were just ramping up to deal with that sort of thing. By the mid '80's, people had largely forgotten about that sort of thing in much of the USA. If you want to see what the USA would (will) look like without an EPA, go visit China.
      • If you want to see what the USA would (will) look like without an EPA, go visit China.

        Now there are literally days when there's more pollution from China in Los Angeles than there is from Los Angeles.

      • For a god laugh, and to see how bad LA used to be, take a look at this episode of Battlestar Galactica [] (1980 remake). Specifically, the 7:50 mark when these lines are spoken:

        What's that odd-looking brown haze hanging over the city?

        Must be some sort of defense shield.
    • by execthis ( 537150 ) on Tuesday December 20, 2016 @12:22AM (#53519755)

      This is what you get with low cost manufacturing!

      Trump is right china is gaming the system.

      Don't forget the thousands of coal mine deaths to fuel the factories that produce the inexpensive shit that the oligarchs want made there in order to sell cheaply in America.

      And don't forget the Chinese multi-millionaires coming to the USA in throngs to invest their dirty profits buying up real-estate, which should be illegal.

      If you think China is anything close to fair or treats people fair, watch this [].

  • Ahh, I love the smell of dereg in the mor....*cough* *cough* *cough*

    • by epyT-R ( 613989 )

      Actually, china has lots of regs.. more than the US.. so why is it still a shithole?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Perhaps they have defunded the regulatory that should be enforcing the regs? Whoops, confused China and Trumps America

      • by Anonymous Coward

        China shows what happens when the interest of the regulators corresponds to those of the companies they regulate. Although I doubt your claim that they have more regulations, even if that's true the number of regulations doesn't matter. It's the quality of the regulations that matters, and how those regulations are enforced.

      • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

        Perhaps because most of their regs (and resources) focus on preventing and quieting dissidents rather than improving health.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Bribery and corruption.

  • Scott Pruitt seems to think that a lot of what led China to this problem is a good idea for the US. Being as they are opposed to expansion and modernization of the rail network, how will they get to their rallies if their planes can't take off?
  • If you want special effects with your news, just pop some bubblewrap and inhale deeply.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    You can actually see this on satellite pics. It's a brown haze

  • China has no pollution.

  • by hyades1 ( 1149581 ) <> on Monday December 19, 2016 @05:56PM (#53516989)

    Don't worry, folks. By the time Trump has finished dismantling the EPA, US cities will be as bad or worse.

    • by sl3xd ( 111641 ) on Monday December 19, 2016 @07:27PM (#53517643) Journal

      Depends on your geography.

      Some cities get inversions [], which bottles up all of the cities pollution for weeks.

      In my hometown, I've seen it so bad visibility was 10 ft/3 meters and you could taste the air.

      Even in a deep red state, people can care a lot about clean air.

      Especially when it prevents you from driving.

      • True about the inversion, mostly. That's why LA was so bad in the 60's. But even if citizens in red states care about clean air, their bought-and-paid-for legislators don't. Look at the water situation in Flint. People should be in jail over that, but dick all is happening, thanks to Republicans in control of the state.

  • by JoeyRox ( 2711699 ) on Monday December 19, 2016 @06:05PM (#53517073)
    We save billions of dollars importing products produced for far less than we could and we breathe clean air and drink clean water. If this is losing then I'd hate to see what winning looks like.
    • It is losing a trade law by agreeing to free trade. If you have free trade you're effectively outsourcing your own regulations at the cost of jobs.

      Winning would be re-imposing trade barriers, bringing jobs and manufacturing back home, and ... you're not going to like this ... paying american prices for american goods.

      • ... and blocking all the Chinese who are rich off the dirty slave-labor money from buying our real estate - and arresting the corrupt local governments that are facilitating their taking over our land.

  • by frovingslosh ( 582462 ) on Monday December 19, 2016 @06:24PM (#53517233)
    Environmentalists are never happy, next week the smog will be so dense that planes can land on it, and they will likely complain about that too. No pleasing them.
  • Maybe not at an airport, but it will land.
  • All it does is keep us alive.

  • since when has thick Smog or Fog affected a planes ability to land at major airports? I know it affects takeoffs as my local airport is regularly affected but it has never affected landings. could someone enlighten me why landings are affected?
  • Will be from to much water or not enough of it. Climate terror.
  • Bad title (Score:4, Informative)

    by manu0601 ( 2221348 ) on Monday December 19, 2016 @09:12PM (#53518619)

    This is a bad title. Like other noted, planes can land without visibility, and TFA does not tell about landing problem.

    What TFA says is that planes are grounded in an attempt to curb pollution.

  • All Pollution Should be so Inconvenient, obvious, and visible. Then maybe we'd have less of it.

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later. -- F. Brooks, "The Mythical Man-Month"