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Unhealthy for sensitive groups
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Unhealthy for sensitive groups|| 139 US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Taiyuan is currently 10.2 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
|Friday, Sep 29|
Moderate 80 AQI US
|Saturday, Sep 30|
Moderate 57 AQI US
|Sunday, Oct 1|
Moderate 80 AQI US
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 139 AQI US
|Tuesday, Oct 3|
Moderate 100 AQI US
|Wednesday, Oct 4|
Moderate 85 AQI US
|Thursday, Oct 5|
Moderate 71 AQI US
|Friday, Oct 6|
Moderate 67 AQI US
|Saturday, Oct 7|
Moderate 75 AQI US
|Sunday, Oct 8|
Moderate 66 AQI US
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Taiyuan is a city located in Shanxi province, a landlocked area found in the northern regions of China. It is both the capital city as well as the largest in Shanxi, and has been known historically by other names such as Bing or Jinyang. It is considered as a major city, both in China and on a global scale, and as such it is subject to some less than appreciable levels of air pollution as a result, as is typically seen in many cities across China, although new initiatives to improve the air quality are being steadily implemented. With these changes one can hope to see further improvements in both Taiyuan and other cities throughout China, but as it stands for now, they still have many high readings of air pollution present.
In late April of 2021, Taiyuan was seen to have a high reading of US AQI taken early in the morning. It presented with a reading of 154, which placed it into the ‘unhealthy’ air quality ratings bracket for that particular time. This reading of US AQI indicates that the health of many citizens is at risk, especially for those who have to breathe such polluted air on a daily basis, as with long term exposure often comes a whole host of negative health effects, with ones such as ischemic heart disease, strokes, heart attacks as well as a variety of pulmonary disorders appearing.
Observing the days on record taken prior to the above reading of US AQI, it can be seen that Taiyuan was subject some rather erratic bouts of pollution, and whilst the general level of US AQI remained high (with no numbers no lower than 70 being present between both March and April of 2021, a ‘moderate’ pollution rating), there were many days in which the pollution level saw a significant spike, with highs of 179, 262 and a sizeable reading of 333 being present.
This reading of 262 would place Taiyuan into the ‘very unhealthy’ pollution ratings bracket on the day it was taken (mid-April), and 333 would place it into the ‘hazardous’ ratings bracket. As this name suggests, the air would be permeated with smoke, haze, hazardous particulate matter and other dangerous forms of air pollution.
US AQI is a measurement reading that is calculated from a composite of several different air pollutants, mainly PM10, PM2.5 and others such as ozone (O3). PM2.5 is a prominent measure of air pollution levels in its own right as well, due to the hazard that it presents to human health.
With such readings present, it can be said that the city of Taiyuan is most definitely subject to some higher levels of pollution, and can be considered as being generally unsafe on many days, which may require the use of preventative measures. These include the wearing of fine particle filtering masks, as well as staying indoors on days that see higher pollution levels. These levels can be tracked via the air quality map present on this page, or via the AirVisual app.
Observing the data taken over the course of 2020 to see a yearlong measure of Taiyuan’s air pollution, it can be seen that the city came in with a PM2.5 average of 52.1 μg/m³ as its yearly reading. This placed it in the upper reaches of the ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups’ bracket, which requires a PM2.5 reading of anywhere between 35.5 to 55.4 μg/m³ to be classified as such. As the name indicates, the air quality would have presented numerous issues for the more vulnerable demographics of the population, as will be discussed at the end of the article.
This reading of 52.1 μg/m³ made Taiyuan only a few units away from moving up into the ‘unhealthy’ ratings bracket, which starts at 55.5 μg/m³ and goes all the way up to 150.4 μg/m³. Besides having its obvious dangers to human health with such a high reading of PM2.5, Taiyuan was also placed in 28th place out of all cities ranked in China over 2020, as well as 84th place out of all cities ranked worldwide. This makes it a city that came in within the top 100 most polluted cities across the globe, and in order to achieve such a ranking, must have numerous sources of pollution that come together to create these compounded levels that place it so high on the world circuit.
Prominent ones would be vehicle emissions and exhaust fumes, with many industrial freight vehicles moving in and out of the city on a daily basis for reasons of importation and exportation. Factories, power plants and other related industrial sites would also play a major role, using large amounts of coal, natural gas and diesel fuels to power their sites. It can be said that Taiyuan has had a history of poor pollution levels owing to the fact that the province itself is rich in coal, and as such has many industries centered around it.
Once again looking at the data from 2020, it can be seen that Taiyuan had its highest pollution levels in the first two months of the year, as well as the last three months.
October through to December came in with readings of 56.8 μg/m³, 68.5 μg/m³ and 52 μg/m³ respectively, whilst January and February came in with readings of 106.7 μg/m³ and 73.4 μg/m³, making January the most polluted month of the year by a wide margin with its reading of 106.7 μg/m³.
Periods of cleaner air were somewhat sporadic in Taiyuan, with many cleaner months being surrounded by others that saw spikes in air pollution, meaning that the city had no clear period of respite from the smoke, smog and haze permeating the atmosphere.
The cleanest months on record for 2020 were May, August and September, all of which came in with ‘moderate’ rated pollution readings, with respective numbers of 35.4 μg/m³, 27.2 μg/m³ and 32.1 μg/m³, making August the cleanest month of the year (a reoccurring theme throughout cities in Northern China).
Whilst any reading above the WHO's target goal of 10 μg/m³ or less has the chance to cause adverse health issues, with these issues rising in severity along with the pollution level, it remains to be seen that there are certain members of society who are particularly at risk due to their health background and a few other factors.
These include young children and babies, as well as the elderly. Pregnant mothers can suffer from severe health effects to their unborn child if exposure to certain contaminants is excessive, along with people who have general poor health, sedentary lifestyle with other bad habits such as smoking.
Those that have pre-existing health conditions (particularly regarding the lungs or heart) and those with compromised immune systems or a hypersensitivity towards chemicals or certain irritating particulate matter can also consider themselves as part of the high risk collective. These groups should take the utmost care during bouts of high pollution levels.