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Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups|| 124 US AQI||PM2.5|
|PM2.5|| 45 µg/m³|
|PM10|| 77 µg/m³|
|O3|| 7 µg/m³|
|NO2|| 55 µg/m³|
|SO2|| 13 µg/m³|
|CO|| 900 µg/m³|
PM2.5 concentration in Zibo air is currently 9 times above the WHO annual air quality guideline value
|Sunday, Nov 28|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 113 US AQI
|Monday, Nov 29|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 136 US AQI
|Tuesday, Nov 30|
Moderate 74 US AQI
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 124 US AQI
|Thursday, Dec 2|
Moderate 77 US AQI
|Friday, Dec 3|
Moderate 78 US AQI
|Saturday, Dec 4|
Moderate 88 US AQI
|Sunday, Dec 5|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 109 US AQI
|Monday, Dec 6|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 119 US AQI
|Tuesday, Dec 7|
Moderate 76 US AQI
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Zibo is a prefecture-level city in central Shandong province, China and administers eight divisions, five districts and three counties. According to the 2010 census, Zibo's population was 4.53 million, of which 4.41 million lived in the metro area. One of its key industries is the manufacture of ceramics. Other industries that process materials here are the petrochemical industry, pharmaceuticals, metallurgy, construction materials, machinery and textiles.
In the second quarter of 2021, Zibo was experiencing a period of “Unhealthy” air with a US AQI reading of 155. This “United States Air Quality Index” figure follows the guidelines suggested by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Six pollutants are usually measured and used as a benchmark in the determination as to how polluted the environment is. The recorded levels of these six pollutants were as follows: PM2.5 - 64 µg/m³, PM10 - 146.5 µg/m³, ozone (O3) - 99 µg/m³, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) - 52.5 µg/m³, sulphur dioxide (SO2) - 19.5 µg/m³ and carbon monoxide (CO) - 1000 µg/m³. It is advisable to take precautions when levels are this high, especially for those who are sensitive to poor air quality. They need to avoid venturing outside until the quality improves and close doors and windows to prevent more dirty air from entering their homes.
Because of the volatile nature of air pollution and the fact it can be influenced by many factors, it comes as no surprise that air quality can change within a day.
Looking at the latest figures for 2020 released on the IQAir website it can be seen that the period of the poorest quality air is during the winter months from November through to the end of February. The level recorded in 2020 was “Unhealthy” with figures between 55.5 and 150.4 µg/m³. August was shown to be the best month with “Moderate” air quality and a reading of 31.8 µg/m³. The remaining months were classed as being “Unhealthy for sensitive groups” with figures between 35.5 and 55.4 µg/m³.
Records were started back in 2017 when Zibo’s air was unhealthy at 63.1 µg/m³. It has shown signs of improvement since then. In 2018 the figure was 55.9 µg/m³ followed by a slight increase to 57.7 µg/m³ in 2019. In 2020 the annual average was 53.9 µg/m³ which showed a marked improvement. This 2020 figure could be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic when vehicle movement and some industry was restricted.
As with many large industrial cities anywhere in the world, most pollution comes from emissions from vehicles and factories and power stations. Open burning of organic waste and dust generated by the movement of people and vehicles over the dry ground.
More than 50 types of mineral reserves can be found in the surrounding area. These include coal, iron, bauxite, coal clay, chemical limestone and pottery clay. The northern areas of Zibo are also rich in petroleum deposits. The extraction and transportation of all of these contribute to the polluted environment.
When the local authorities predict a change for the worse in air quality, certain procedures are to be implemented.
Dust pollution reduction measures include stopping open-air operations in mines, sand and gravel yards, stone factories/quarries, slate factories, etc. Construction sites are prohibited from earth and stone work, building demolition, spray painting, concrete mixing, etc. and slag transportation will stop.
Transportation vehicles such as coal, sand and gravel materials that are prone to spillage are prohibited from being transported on the main roads, and road sections that are prone to dust are cleaned and watered more frequently.
With the exception of vehicles performing special tasks, heavy and medium diesel trucks, three-wheeled vehicles, low-speed trucks and tractors are prohibited from travelling into the main urban areas of cities and counties.
As of March 2021, the local government set plans in motion to monitor the furnaces and kilns within the city limits. The main goals were to focus on the whole process of the renovation of the industrial kilns and furnaces. It is the intention to use the latest technology to treat the emissions so they no longer pollute the environment. Concentrate on the construction of ceramics industrial parks, refractory materials industrial parks and daily glass industrial parks to increase the concentration of enterprises in the parks and enhance the level of intensification. At the same time, the energy structure has also been adjusted, and the remaining industries such as ceramics, refractory materials and cement grinding stations have all been converted to natural gas as fuel. From the original 23,000 industrial enterprises, 9,500 have been closed down and over 13,000 were comprehensively renovated.
Those most susceptible to severe health problems from air pollution are individuals who already suffer from heart disease, coronary artery disease or congestive heart failure. Those with pre-existing lung diseases such as asthma, emphysema or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Add to these, pregnant women, children under the age of 14 years due to their immaturity, senior citizens and the elderly, those whose jobs place them outside for several hours each day and even athletes who exercise regime takes them outside for longer periods of time.
Ground-level ozone is a common pollutant and is particularly nasty. It is a strong irritant that can cause constriction in the airways thus forcing the heart and lungs to work so much harder in order to supply the body with the desired amount of oxygen. This leads to increased fatigue, reduced resistance to infections and compromised athletic performances.
Particulate Matter (PM2.5 and PM10) is a complex mixture that may contain soot, smoke, metals, nitrates, sulphates, dust, water and tyre rubber.
Prolonged exposure to particulate matter can lead to significant health problems such as increased respiratory symptoms, such as irritation of the airways, coughing or difficulty breathing. Existing asthma sufferers will be prone to more frequent attacks and it can lead to the development of chronic respiratory disease in children and chronic bronchitis or chronic obstructive lung disease in adults.