1/4 of China shrouded by haze, affecting 600 million people

2013-07-12 03:36:56 GMT2013-07-12 11:36:56(Beijing Time)  SINA English

By Yu Runze, Sina English

The incessant haze, which occurred in the first half of 2013, shrouded nearly 1/4 of China and affected about 600 million people living there, revealed a government report publicized on the website of National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) on Thursday

The energy conservation and emission reduction report listed haze as one of the major problems to deal with and summarized the characters of the incessant haze.

“First, the haze affected large part of China. Second, the haze lasted for a long period. For instance, only five days’ air quality data met secondary standard in Beijing in February. Third, the density of pollutants was very high during the haze,” read the report.

Extensive economic development, imbalanced industry structure and energy structure were to blame for the haze.

The influence of the haze on people’s health also attracted much attention.

A new study, published Tuesday, linked heavy air pollution from coal burning to supposed shorter lifespan in northern China.

The study was carried out by researchers from China, Israel and the United States and published Tuesday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study says that the half-billion people living in northern China in the 1990s will live an average of 5 years less than their southern counterparts because they breathed dirtier air.

An official with Ministry of Environmental Protection refuted the report.

“Though smoke from burning coal could affect human health at a certain degree, there is no evidence that it could shorten the lifespan,” the official explained.

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Editor: Yu Runze
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