The Air in South China Has Been Stinky Lately and Nobody Knows Why

By Jonathan Zhong, January 11, 2019

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Since January 8, residents in Shenzhen and Guangzhou have been complaining about a strange smell of burning plastic in the air.

The smell was first reported in Futian, Luohu and Longhua districts on January 8 before residents in Guangzhou’s Yuexiu, Baiyun and Haizhu districts also claimed that they could smell it on the morning of January 10.

Many netizens in both cities took to Weibo to complain about the odor. 

“I can smell it all the way from Nanshan to Futian. It reminds me of when we were burning plastic for fun when we were little. My memories don’t lie!” said one Shenzhener.

“I noticed it this morning near Beijing Lu Shopping Street, but didn’t realize the whole city has been covered in it,” wrote a Guangzhou-based Weibo user on January 10 after reading the comments under a post.

Shortly after hearing the reports, Shenzhen Human Settlements and Environment Commission (SHSEC) began looking into the situation, but as of January 10, they have yet to pinpoint the source of the odor.

Despite the fact that Shenzhen has had a few days of seemingly smoggy weather this week, according to SHSEC’s findings so far, the pollution data concerning these affected areas in the city have been within a reasonable range and there have been no signs of fire, unauthorized discharge or unauthorized burning of trash in landfills.

Some residents in Shenzhen speculated that the odor may have to do with the fire that broke out on an oil tanker in Hong Kong on January 8, but SHSEC responded that it’s unlikely that these two incidents are connected, as the wind was mostly blowing from the north and northeast of Shenzhen during the time in question.

Currently, the environmental protection departments in both cities are investigating the source of the odor and say they will release an update once the source is found.

We want to hear what you think, have you noticed a strange odor in the air in your city? Let us know in the comments below!

READ MORE: 1 Dead After Oil Tanker Fire, Explosions off Hong Kong Coast

[Cover image via Sina.com]

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