June 12, 2012
Translated by Zhu Na
Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei, was enveloped by a rare greyish-yellow dusty haze yesterday. The provincial environmental authority, responding to concern from residents, said that the pollution was caused by the burning of straw in neighboring areas.
According to a Xinhua News Agency report, the sky began to turn hazy at around 2am on June 11, as winds from the northwest of Hubei province pushed the dirty air to the southeast.
Other cities in Hubei that experienced the poor air conditions included Shiyan (十堰), Xiangyang (襄阳), Suizhou (随州), Jinzhou (荆州), Xiaogan (孝感) and Xiantao (仙桃), though it was capital of the province that was most severely effected.
Yesterday afternoon, the Hubei Environmental Protection Bureau released a statement saying that preliminary findings indicated that the air pollution was caused by the burning of straw in surrounding areas.
The bureau also emphasised that the poor atmospheric conditions were not caused by any kind of industrial accident or a dust storm from Northern China.
The official Sina Weibo account of the Wuhan police posted an announcement this morning saying that two internet users had been detained for spreading rumors that claimed that yesterday's pollution had been caused by a "chlorine leak at a chemical plant" or "an explosion at a steel refinery."
In the lead up to the Beijing Olympics, Beijing's air was also effected by the smoke caused from farmers in neighboring provinces burning off the left over stalks from the summer wheat harvest. The city moved to ban burn offs during the period and encouraged farmers to use alternative methods to deal with the wheat straw.
Links and Sources
Lianhe Zaobao: 湖北环保厅称武汉烟雾因秸秆焚烧引起
Xinhua News Agency: 湖北环保厅称武汉烟雾初判系秸秆焚烧引起
Economic Observer Online: 湖北武汉空气今晨突遭污染原因不明