The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Monday December 5th

China struggles to convince citizens that its air is clean

BEIJING (MCT) — The sky in Beijing is often a murky color, something between gray and brown. But the past few days have been particularly bad: hundreds of flights canceled, sections of highway temporarily closed and entire buildings seemingly vanished from the horizon.

On state television and much of Chinese-language media, the darker days of Beijing frequently are explained by one word: fog.

While at times that may be true, there’s no question that the capital — crammed with cars and a population that’s reportedly grown beyond 19 million — is choking on pollution.

The Global Times, a state-controlled tabloid with nationalist leanings, reported Monday that an engineer at the Beijing Meteorological Bureau had “refuted the idea that the fog is a result of air pollution.”

Instead, according to the state engineer, the fog was created by a large amount of water vapor near the ground and a drop in temperature.

Many Chinese apparently are unconvinced.

State media said that the country’s largest online retail site, akin to eBay, sold more than 30,000 respiratory masks on Sunday alone.

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