shenzhen smog 2010.1.28

view from my window

several hours ago, a heavy smog descended on shenzhen. this smog irritates my throat and eyes, but i can’t identify a smell. at the time, several colleagues mentioned that it smelled like someone was burning something.

the ongoing diminishing of shenzhen’s air-quality has been a persistent theme in this blog. i can honestly say today is the worst day i’ve seen here. nevertheless, at work, most talked about the smog as if it were excessive, but “normal” as in “within expectations”. as i walked home, children were playing in huanggang park, people were chatting, and the traffic moved as usual.

does anyone else know what has / is happening? i tried surfing in chinese but haven’t seen anything. i did, however, come across a blog entry that classified shenzhen’s air quality as “relatively bad” and suggested that people limit their outdoor activities!

i also managed to come up with a timeline of worsening smog (灰霾) conditions in shenzhen:

2009 there were 115 smog days, apparently 39 fewer days than the 154 recorded in 2008.

2007 there were 158 smog days in shenzhen, but the city nevertheless got a “good” air quality rating;

2003 there were 131 smog days and the same article stated that the smog days have been increasing since the 1990s as there were only 8 hazy days in the 70s, and 58 in the 80s.

all this and suddenly the nytimes discovers that shenzhen is one of the top 31 places to visit in 2010. on the list, shenzhen is #20 and apparently getting “greener”! that said, the same article also managed to mention the nanshan kempinski without mentioning the houhai land reclamation area, so clearly the author’s focus was more the affordable luxuries of dongmen and the recent proliferation “legit” massage parlors than it was on environmental transformation. nor did the article mention that shenzhen is the capital of chinese theme parks. presumably shenzhen’s self promotion as a “chic” tourist city of “splendor and happiness” is finding a wider audience!

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