Sudden onset of air pollution sweeps across Chinese provinces
Severe air pollution in several Chinese provinces has triggered public outrage and prompted local governments to take action against the traditional burning of straw that has been pinpointed as the "arch-culprit."
Several cities in Hubei Province, including its capital Wuhan, were hit by heavy smoggy weather Monday.
Figures from the Wuhan Environmental Monitoring Center showed that the PM concentrations quickly rose from 7 am and reached 0.574 micrograms per cubic meter at 2 pm, compared to the standard of 0.150.
The Hubei Provincial Environmental Protection Department released its initial investigation results Monday afternoon, saying the possibility of industrial pollution being the cause had been eliminated, with the most likely culprit being the burning of straw in neighboring provinces.
The sudden invasion of haze was similar to one in Jiangsu Province over the weekend when residents of several cities felt suffocated, news outlets reported.
The Nanjing Environmental Protection Bureau (NEPB) announced on its official microblog on Saturday night that the instant value of the air pollution index jumped to 478, making it the most polluted city among the 120 cities publishing the same index.
The PM2.5 readings in 13 cities all greatly exceeded the standard as of Sunday night, according to the Yantze Evening News.
The rarely seen pollution even swept into some cities in Shandong and Henan provinces. The provincial observatory of Jiangsu issued a yellow warning signal for haze on Sunday, as did Wuhan Monday.