You might find yourself wondering why Beijing is so polluted. Well, there are a lot of factors: car emissions, factories, geographic characteristics, neglect. But, street vendors add to the haze as well. Beijing’s Bureau of City Administration and Law Enforcement have taken a look at how these tasty treats are ruining the skyline. According to China Real Time Report:
China Daily cited Peking University public health expert Pan Xiaochuan in describing smoke from barbecues as a “very common” source of PM2.5, shorthand for the tiny airborne particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter that health experts say is particularly damaging to human health.
An environmental buzzword ever since angry social media users bullied Beijing into releasing better air pollution data in 2012, PM2.5 also turned up in a story about an anti-grilling sting in the city’s Xicheng district that appeared during state broadcaster China Central Television’s evening news broadcast on Monday. “This outdoor barbecuing can cause the PM2.5 to rise rapidly,” a city administration official told CCTV.
Admittedly, there are a lot of problems with street food, like food safety. Blaming PM 2.5 on these skewers though, deserves a little skepticism.
Vance Wagner, a senior researcher at the International Council on Clean Transportation, add in the CRTR article:
“I can’t believe that it’s actually a source [of PM2.5] that they need to worry about as compared with the enormous pollution that comes from motor vehicles, coal-fired power plants and big industrial factories,” said Vance Wagner, a senior researcher at the International Council on Clean Transportation, adding that smoke from cooking isn’t typically included in scientific surveys of the sources of the city’s air pollution…
Many suspect this may just be an attempt to divert attention from the real issue of air pollution, a growing problem.
Unlinke many air pollution problems that seem to keep getting worse without any direct action, this one has a seemingly swift solution. How does the city plan on solving the problem? Interestingly, they plan to do so by fining unlicensed grillers up to 5,000 RMB.