NBC News looks at China's horrific smog problem, including pictures that try to tell the story. I've been in Los Angeles back in the '60s on a bad smog day and that seems to pale in comparison to China today. Last time I was in L.A. was during the riots and the air seemed quite clear in comparison to the '60s.
What I don't get is all the Chinese in the pictures wearing dust masks. I don't see how that would help as smog is more chemical based than anything else. I could see it if it was more along the lines of dust. In that case a dust mask might help.
I've also always wondered about authorities telling people to stay inside during severe smog alerts. It would seem to me the air inside comes from outside so what's the difference? Then again, I remember L.A. back in the day with my eyes stinging from smog and it being sometimes hard to breath. But once inside a house, it seemed better. I've since come to think it was the air conditioners that cleaned the air in the homes. The air is run through cooling coils and it condenses the air to water. the pollution going into the condensed water. Makes for a nice air filter. Seemed to work back then, anyway.
The Chinese are going to have to do something to clean their air. They're killing themselves. I'm surprised their government hadn't taken stronger measures as their government has the power to do it. Look how far we've gone in this country cleaning up smog. Wouldn't it be easier with a slightly more authoritarian government than ours?
Then again, that could be easier said than done. I recall reading that something like 6 weeks before the Beijing Olympics, the Chinese government pretty much shut down every factory within 100 or so miles of Beijing in order to reduce smog for the Olympics. It didn't seem to do much good.