Friday, November 12, 2004

Smog source

Last year I wondered what was the source of the smog in Beijing. Even if people are buying cars like crazy and the streets are jammed, many other cities have as many cars and during a normal day you can still see the sky. Some people claimed it was dust blowing in from the approaching deserts, some that it was from burning coal. This is what I read in a Guardian article recently. Guess I could just as well start smoking. That smoke would at least be filtered first.

Since 1998 traffic on Beijing's roads has doubled to 2m vehicles and it is expected there will be 3m by 2008. The new cars are burning some of the world's dirtiest fuel. Because of the increase in oil prices China is buying cheap "sour crude" on world markets. The oil is $1 cheaper a barrel, but contains far more sulphur - the main source of air pollution. According to the state environmental protection agency petrol accounts for 79% of the country's smog.

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