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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|| 51 µg/m³|
|PM10|| 88 µg/m³|
|O3|| 46 µg/m³|
|NO2|| 38.5 µg/m³|
|SO2|| 7.5 µg/m³|
|CO|| 600 µg/m³|
PM2.5 concentration in Shouguang air is currently 10.2 times above the WHO annual air quality guideline value
|Wednesday, Nov 24|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 149 US AQI
|Thursday, Nov 25|
Unhealthy 165 US AQI
|Friday, Nov 26|
Unhealthy 154 US AQI
|Saturday, Nov 27|
Unhealthy 153 US AQI
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 139 US AQI
|Monday, Nov 29|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 109 US AQI
|Tuesday, Nov 30|
Moderate 52 US AQI
|Wednesday, Dec 1|
Moderate 66 US AQI
|Thursday, Dec 2|
Moderate 56 US AQI
|Friday, Dec 3|
Good 47 US AQI
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Shouguang is a city located in the northern central area of Shandong province, which itself is found in the eastern region of China. It is known as being a prominent hub and trade post for vegetables and other similar produce throughout the country, and as well as this, is subject to some less than amicable levels of air pollution throughout the year, although significant improvements have been seen between the years of 2017 to 2020.
In early May of 2021, Shouguang was seen with a US AQI reading of 83, a reading that placed it into the ‘moderate’ pollution ratings bracket in that particular day and time in which it was taken. US AQI refers to a measure of air quality which is comprised of a number of different pollutants, with the main and most pertinent ones being used to calculate this US AQI level, with AQI standing for air quality index and the US part referring to the American standard by which it is held (which is far more stringent than measures sometimes used in other parts of the world, hence why it is used as an international standard).
This moderate reading of 83 indicates that the air quality at that time was not overtly disastrous or terrible, and would carry a mild amount of smoke, particles or other air contaminants in the atmosphere, which could cause some problems for more sensitive portions of the population and some mild short term effects to occur even within healthy individuals, but as it stands it would be tolerable. However, looking at US AQI readings taken on days prior to this, it can be seen that Shouguang is also subject to daily readings that go far higher, up into dangerous territory.
Between April and May of 2021, there were considerably higher readings coming in on the records, with numbers such as 118 and 123 coming in in late April (which would make the air ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups’, as per the air quality ratings bracket), as well as highs of 153, 157 and 181. These last few readings would all place Shouguang into the ‘unhealthy’ ratings bracket on those particular days, indicating an atmosphere that would be far more permeated with smoke, haze, smog and all manner of hazardous particulate matter (both of the fine (PM2.5) and coarse (PM10) variety, with the smaller PM2.5 being far more harmful).
This indicates that shouguang has average air quality readings that can pose health risks for many individuals, particularly during certain months of the year, which will also be examined in further detail. Such individuals who will be at particular risks are ones such as the elderly or infirm, along with smokers, those with general poor health or sedentary lifestyle, or a combination of all of these factors. Others include young children and babies, as well as pregnant mothers. Those with pre-existing illnesses or medical conditions should also take extra care, along with the immunocompromised or those who have a higher degree of sensitivity towards certain airborne chemicals and pollutants.
With these larger amounts of pollution in the air, preventative measures such as the wearing of fine particle filtering masks, as well as the avoidance of outdoor activity, particularly strenuous or exercise related activities during high bouts of pollution can aid greatly in preventing harmful health conditions from occurring. These air pollution levels can be tracked via air quality maps such as the one at the top of this page, as well as through the air visual app.
In regards to the main causes of air pollution in Shouguang, they remain consistent with causes seen elsewhere in the country, especially throughout Shandong as well as Xinjiang province. They include instances of a massive increase in industry over the last decade, a rapidly growing population size, increased demand for housing, food products and all other items that come with a large population, as well as heavy emissions from factories, industrial areas and power plants. These industrial areas often utilize large amounts of coal, as well as other fossil fuels such as diesel and natural gas in order to meet their energy requirements. The combustion of this material leads to vast plumes of smoke and pollution being emitted from the boilers, causing large spikes of PM2.5 to occur.
Other sources of pollution include the heavy use of vehicles, both personal ones such as cars and motorbikes as well as heavy freight vehicles such as lorries or trucks. Construction and demolition sites, road repairs and other similar sites can all release large amounts of particulate matter and other contaminants.
Looking at the air pollution measurements taken over 2020, it can be seen that Shouguang came in with a PM2.5 reading of 49.7 μg/m³ as its yearly average. This placed it into the higher end of the ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups’ bracket, which requires a PM2.5 reading between 35.5 to 55.4 μg/m³ to be classified as such. This reading placed Shouguang in 104th place out of all cities ranked worldwide in 2020, as well as 46th place out of all cities ranked within China.
In terms of the months that saw the highest pollution levels, January and December came in with the highest readings, with PM2.5 numbers of 99.4 μg/m³ and 88 μg/m³ respectively. This made January the most polluted month of the year, sitting well within the ‘unhealthy’ ratings bracket (55.5 μg/m³ upwards).
Shouguang enters into a period of relatively cleaner air quality in the months of May through to September. Four out of these five months came in with a ‘moderate’ air quality reading, with August being the cleanest month out of the entire year with a PM2.5 reading of 30.7 μg/m³, with May following closely behind at 30.9 μg/m³.
The main pollutants found in the air in Shouguang would be ones such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), ozone (O3) and carbon monoxide (CO). Other dangerous materials or contaminants would be dioxins, furans, black carbon, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as well as heavy metals such as lead, mercury or cadmium. Some examples of VOCs include chemicals such as benzene or formaldehyde.