An official in Beijing on Monday tried to suspend disbeliefs from its citizens over air pollutions as thick smog blanketed the city for several days running.
“China's air quality should not be judged from data released by foreign embassies in Beijing,” Du Shaozhong, vice head and spokesman of Beijing’s environmental protection bureau, said in an interview in Weibo.com, the twitter-like microblog in China, referring to U.S. embassy’s monitoring data.
He also said that Beijing’s air quality had been improved compared by itself, and the government would continue to reduce pullutions.
His remarks came amid suspicions over government’s quality report, which rated Beijing’s air quality as “slightly polluted” on the days when the U.S. embassy said “hazardous” or “beyond index” which means above measurable levels.
Debates are fueled on the Internet after some eminent users of the Weibo retweeted postings from the U.S. embassy, drawing attentions of local government.
Days of smog have forced the closure of highways and cancellation of flights in Beijing, one of the most-polluted cities due to its growing energy consumption, much of which is still fueled by coal-fired power stations, and the high number of cars on the road.
Based on the U.S. embassy’s data, the air quality index in Beijing Monday was 307, with particle pollution less than 2.5 microns (PM2.5) in diameter at 257. That compared with the index of 132 issued by Beijing’s environmental administration.