When the wheat harvest on the North China Plain comes to an end, farmers pull lighters from their pockets and set fire to mounds of leftover stalks. Smoke plumes from millions of acres of burning farmland billow toward the cities of central China.

On June 11 and 12 2014, strong northeastern winds carried the smoke to Wuhan (an industrial city in Hubei province). By the afternoon of June 12, air pollution in Wuhan had spiked to unseen levels. Visibility across the city dropped to less than 1,000 meters. PM 2.5 (fine particulate matter which can cause respiratory problems) concentrations reached 895 micrograms per cubic metre, a higher level than the PM 2.5 count recorded in January 2013 in Beijing that western media labelled “The Airpocalypse” (and far in excess of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) guideline figure of 25 micrograms per cubic metre over a 24-hour period). PM 2.5 has also been labelled a Group 1 carcinogen by the WHO… Read the rest of the article on China Dialogue

 

 

  • Crop Burning