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Toxic Chinese Smog Making Capital Unfit for Life: StudyFebruary 28, 2014
Tree withering in Beijing smog.
A tree losing its leaves in an outbreak of Beijing smog.
China’s frequent outbreaks of toxic air pollution have become so bad that a report by the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences says Beijing is “barely suitable for life.”

Other scientists warn that the smog’s sun-dimming effects resemble those that would occur during a “nuclear winter.”

Li Guixin, a resident of the capital of northeast China’s Hebei province, has become the first person to sue the communist government for failing to rein in air pollution.

Despite late February’s extremely hazardous pollution levels, officials still didn’t feel the smog was bad enough to curb the use of cars and trucks.

But they did ban barbecues, fireworks and demolition work.

A new report by the China Agricultural University warns that the country’s growers will suffer conditions “somewhat similar to a nuclear winter” if something isn’t done to combat air pollution.

It says the smog is impeding photosynthesis, especially in greenhouses that are becoming covered with airborne pollutants.

The coating can cut the amount of light from the sun by about 50 percent, the report says.

Photo: Philip McMaster