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China's Smog As Seen From Space

Heavy smog has shrouded much of eastern China, and air quality levels have been dropped to extremely dangerous levels. The heavy smog is caused by industrial pollution, coal and agricultural burning, and has been trapped by the mountains to the west and wind patterns. The thick haze of smog is clearly visible as the murky gray color in this true color satellite image.
NASA/NOAA
Heavy smog has shrouded much of eastern China, and air quality levels have been dropped to extremely dangerous levels. The heavy smog is caused by industrial pollution, coal and agricultural burning, and has been trapped by the mountains to the west and wind patterns. The thick haze of smog is clearly visible as the murky gray color in this true color satellite image.

We told you earlier this week about how smog choked the northeast Chinese city of Harbin, which is home to 11 million people.

Today, we get a stunning look at just how bad the problem is from an image taken by the Suomi NPP satellite on Tuesday. That murky gray you see below is all smog:

Today, as the smog has cleared, National Geographic highlights a big reason for China's terrible pollution: Coal is used to fuel 70 percent of the country's energy needs.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.

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