Thick haze blanketed much of China on November 4, 2004. Haze is a frequent problem in China, where coal is a source of energy and heat for many. In anticipation of the 2008 Olympics, Beijing has set a plan in action to reduce haze over the city, which is located near the left edge of the image. The city plans to relocate several factories and switch to natural gas where possible to cut down on pollution. Beijing is not the only part of China being affected by the haze on November 4. The thick air stretches from the southern edge of the Gobi Desert (left) down to the South China Sea (right), and from the East China Sea (top) to the mountains of central China (right)—a distance of well over 2,000 kilometers in each direction. The Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor aboard the OrbView-2 satellite captured this image on November 4, 2004.
Incomplete burning of carbon-based fuels like coal and wood leads to a build-up of haze in eastern China, where mountains and weather patterns can trap it for days at a time. This Terra MODIS image is a comparison of a hazy day and a relatively clear day in February 2005.
A nearly opaque plume of haze snaked through eastern China on October 20, 2007. The haze likely results from industrial and vehicular emissions as China struggles to balance economic growth with a healthy environment.