Beijing pollution so bad, they’re faking the sunsets

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

sunset in Beijing
Wow, who wouldn’t prefer a fake sunset over this?

Beijing has some of the worst air in the world, and now the smog is so thick, they need to stage sunsets on a large screen TV.

According to reports from the US Embassy, the levels of PM 2.5 – particles small enough to penetrate the lungs – got as high as 671 in the Chinese city of Beijing. Just to give you an idea of how bad that is, the World Health Organization (WHO) limits daily exposure to no more than 20 and considers amounts higher than 25 to be extremely dangerous.

Increased amounts of coal-burning and other polluting practices have worsened the smog so much, citizens can barely see the sun anymore. This limited visibility has prompted televised sunsets and fake blue skies at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on a large LCD screen typically used to announce tourist destinations.

Other cities in China with bad air quality include Shanghai, which reported PM 2.5 readings exceeding 600, and the northeastern city of Harbin, whose PM 2.5 rates have gone up to 1,000. The country’s State Council has already created several mandates to cleanse the air quality in China, but there’s still a ton of work to do.

Image of Beijing sunset courtesy of William Veerbeek on Flickr.