Beijing's polluted haze turns murkier

  • PTI, Beijing
  • |
  • Updated: Jan 30, 2013 14:24 IST

Beijing's heavily polluted haze turned murkier today evoking strong public criticism specially against the government’s inability to rein state-owned oil firms for supplying "bad quality" gasoline being used over five million vehicles on city's roads.

A total of 1.3 million square km of the country was enveloped by dense haze, covering most parts of northern and eastern China, according to the Ministry of Environmental Protection, which graded the air quality of Beijing, Tianjin, Shijiazhuang in Hebei and Jinan in Shandong as level 6, indicating "serious pollution."

There are reports of several airports and highways closed due to heavy smog in difference cities.

The picture turned bleaker today for Chinese capital making it worse than yesterday with visibility levels falling to few hundred meters.

While officials continue to maintain that emergency measures are in force temporarily shutting down over 300 heavily polluting industries and reducing the flow of official cars on the roads, public blamed the government and oil industries for buying poor quality crude.

Beijing has a permanent population over 20 million.The city has over 5.2 million cars.

As murky haze continued to shroud large swathes of Beijing and China choking public pointed their fingers at the country's top oil firms.

Agitated by the deteriorating smog, many nitizens blamed two state owned major oil giants, the China National Petroleum Corporation and China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec) saying that they are the main "culprits" for the pollution.

According to a diagram on, the standard of China's petroleum is greatly inferior to that of the US and Europe, state run Global Times reported.

It pointed out that China is the world's largest buyer of "bad-quality" crude and the gasoline has a high content of sulphur due to insufficient investment in refining technology.

The report soon triggered a massive online uproar on the Weibo the Chinese Twitter.

Some even blamed the authorities and media for intentionally dodging this serious problem while analysing the causes behind the smog.

"The smog was caused by diverse reasons. Oil is just one of the factors contributing to the issue," Lü Dapeng, a spokesperson for Sinopec, told the Global Times adding that starting from May 2012, the firm has been providing the capital with oil products equivalent to Euro V standards.

"It's the strictest standard in the world, the sulphur content of which is less than 10 ppm," said Lü.

Han Xiaoping, an energy industry analyst said the burning of coal in winter, and not vehicle emissions, was the main contributor to air pollution.

The public discontent over the pollution has also alarmed the government.


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