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article imageChinese city bans the smoking of bacon because of air pollution

By Karen Graham     Jan 22, 2015 in Environment
Chongqing - It may seem odd to hear that smoking bacon would cause a rise in air pollution, but if everybody and his neighbor is doing it, then maybe there is some substance to the story of one Chinese city where smoking bacon has been banned.
People living in Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality have been banned from making homemade smoked bacon, a tradition going back thousands of years because the smoke is fouling the air. Chongqing is but one of a number of cities in northeast China suffering from an increase in air pollution, all blamed on this winter tradition.
City officials in Sichuan, as well as officials in Dazhou, a municipality in northeast Sichuan are complaining of the increased pollution. Although they all agree that smoking bacon is not the only factor in the rise of PM 2.5 particulates, they are citing the practice of smoking pork products as the main cause of the recent increase in pollution.
Smoking pork is a traditional way of processing meat that dates back at least 3,000 years in China. This time of the year is also when the Chinese prepare for the Chinese New Year, which starts on February 19th, and some of the traditional foods include smoked bacon and sausages.
Since the early part of January, parts of China have been blanketed with heavy layers of smog, the worst since 2013. While Dazhou officials blame much of the pollution on local construction, oil refineries, steel mills, power plants, and automobile exhaust, they have still raided and demolished meat-smoking sites.
Chongqing's Environment Protection Bureau (CEPB) has partnered with the local departments of public security, city planning, food and drug administration to stop the smoking of bacon and sausages, putting the ban into effect on Jan.20. On the CEPB's official website yesterday, it stated that the burning of materials in the open air would be met with a fine of up to 5,000 yuan ($805).
Chongqing's campaign has been met with a lot of ridicule on the Internet. One comment suggested that the government "should probably ban cooking because it also generates air pollution." while someone else said, "Maybe we should stop breathing because it pollutes the air."
More about smoking bacon, chinese city, openair burning, smoked meats in winter, PM 25
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