Greenpeace activists demand end to record breaking Beijing pollution

Press release - 2014-10-11
Beijing, 10 October 2014 - Air pollution in Beijing today broke a new record, with “hazardous levels” lasting more than 50 hours for the first time this year. Fine particulate matter, known as PM2.5 measured over 15 times safe levels set by the World Health Organisation.

“Greenpeace analysis shows pollution coming from areas south to Beijing, including the southern part of Hebei Province where iron and steel mills and other heavy industries are concentrated. The price we are paying is with our health, with coal use widely known to reduce life expectancy in China. Greenpeace urges authorities to implement the emergency plan which includes shutting down heavy polluters, phase out outdated facilities, and cut coal,” said Greenpeace East Asia campaigner, Zhang Kai.

Beijing last year initiated an emergency plan for pollution control measures if air pollution hits severe levels on consecutive days. Authorities have so far failed to put the city on red alert. Beijing raised its pollution alert from yellow to orange, which is the second-highest level, but is not enough to advise people to stay inside or shut down heavy polluters. 

On 8 October, Greenpeace campaigners measured air quality at various locations around the city and today, Greenpeace activists in Beijing projected an image on the Beijing Drum Tower today with the message “Blue Sky Now”. 

“We measured air quality outside an obstetrics clinic where PM2.5 measured over 400 micrograms per cubic meter – 16 times over the limits set by the World Health Organisation. Even football star Lionel Messi, who is now in Beijing, was bent over backwards after a training session today. It is critical that the government pursue strong anti-pollution measures and even faster ween its economy from its coal addiction,” said Zhang Kai.


Notes to editors:

Photos of Greenpeace East Asia’s projection in Beijing can be viewed at:


Press contact:

Tang Damin, International Communications Officer, Greenpeace East Asia, Mobile: +86 13911526274, Email: