Haze Over Northeastern China, From Shanghai to Beijing39.9N 116.4E
A thick haze hangs over the plains northeastern China, thinning near the coast. It veils cities including Shanghai (bottom center) and Beijing (upper left quadrant), as well as the mouth of the Yangtze River (by Shanghai), and reaches the shores of the Bohai Sea (above center).
Haze forms when concentrations of dust, smoke and/or pollutants in the air are high. Since it contains substances harmful to the respiratory tract and lungs, last year Chinese authorities set tougher rules to combat air pollution by ordering all big cities to monitor tiny particles that do serious damage to health. Stricter air pollution monitoring standards were ordered for Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, Tianjin, 27 provincial capitals and three industrial belts: the Yangtze and Pearl river deltas and Beijing’s hinterland. Another 113 cities must adopt new standards next year and all but the smallest cities by 2015.