Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sand Storm...

...And Pollution

The sand storm season is in full swing. It’s not as bad as it used to be apparently but from time to time you’ll see the taxi drivers using their "buffer" a little more than usual.

Yesterday’s sandstorm brought once again pollution to an unprecedented level this year with an API (air pollution index) of 305 according to the Beijing Environmental Bureau

Another Fine Day...

For your information, The Chinese authorities use an Air Pollution Index (API) to report the air quality. Although most countries use the term API, they may have different scales to measure it, so an API of 100 can represent different levels of pollution.

  • 1 = API 0-50 = excellent = PM10 0.000-0.050 (It’s considered “good” in the USA)
  • 2 = API 51-100 = good = PM10 0.050-0.150 (it’s considered “moderate” in the USA)
  • 3A = API 101-150 = slightly polluted = PM10 0.150-0.250 (it’s considered “unhealthy for sensitive group” in the USA)
  • 3B = API 151-200 = light polluted = PM10 0.250-0.350 (it’s considered “unhealthy”y in the USA)
  • 4A = API 201-250 = moderate polluted = PM10 0.350-0.385
  • 4B = API 251-300 = moderate-heavy polluted = PM10 0.385-0.420
  • and so on…

The European Union draws a red line at a PM10 of 0.050 mg/m3. API in Beijing with a PM10 up to 3 times as high as the EU limit value as good.

On a side note, Beijing pollution rating for December 12, 2006 was a record 500, the maximum score on the scale that SEPA uses!