Coal Detoxify Pollutes Beijing Sky

Ngebray.com,- This time lapse video posted online and showed over a period of about 20 minutes shows a hazardous cloud of smog drifting to Beijing. It’s one of many videos appearing on Chinese social media, showing the extent of pollution in the city and it’s angering many. At times, Beijing and parts of Northern China has seen air pollution levels soar more that 15 times above what the WHO (World Health Organization) says is safe. The causes are not just usual suspects, like steel mills and cars. But part of the problem is also coal burning by villagers outside the city.

Picture from nbcnews.com

Picture from nbcnews.com

Here in villagers aren’t connected to central city heating. Instead, many rely on coal burning stoves to keep warm and it comes at a cost. Ma Rongjiang, Researcher of Tsinghua University said, “Pollution from burning the same amount of coal in the rural areas, for example a kilogram or a ton, is ten times more than if it comes from power plants”. In the village of Tsinghua researcher, Ma Rongjiang installs new monitors at one home. And this home is one of dozens participating in the university’s heating experiments around Beijing. Officials and researchers back in Beijing will then be able to receive the data from the monitors, and analyze which heaters work best and help bring down costs.

Picture from chinadaily.com

Picture from chinadaily.com

The government wants to change that, with a campaign aimed at eliminating village coal use around Beijing. How? By swapping out coal stoves with new electric heaters. But the electric heaters also bring higher power cost for villagers. So, the government has enlisted the help of researchers at Tsinghua University. Their task is to test more efficient heaters that cut cost and help advice the government which ones work best. Prof. Yang Xudong from Tsinghua University said, “So the cost is a big issue, so we had to make sure that their bill, the bill they pay is not higher that usually what they traditionally pay. So in that way, they can really quickly adapt the new technology”. He added, “Coal has to be used in China, because this is the main energy source available right now. But in a small unit, this cannot be really used because the emission cannot be better controlled. The efficiency’s very low, so it’s really a big waste of resource if they use the coal in the rural area“.

Picture from onenewspage.com

Picture from onenewspage.com

It will take several years still before the government is done swapping out coal heaters for electric ones. In the meantime, many villagers will still depend on coal that has blackened Beijing’s skies.