20 million surveillance cameras in China rendered almost useless thanks to smog

Bradley Wint
By: - 11th Nov 2013
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Looks like China’s smog problem is finally becoming an issue for their government.

China’s worsening smog situation has become so bad that the 20 million surveillance cameras they’ve installed nationwide may have gone to waste. Scientists now say that smog has become so bad that visibility is sometimes reduced to mere meters. Smog has always been a problem for the Chinese government because it has made surveillance more difficult by the day, but they have ignored the situation by classifying the smog as ‘fog’.

The obvious difference lies in the fact that fog is just a low-lying cloud of water droplets resulting in lowered visibility. However, because China isn’t exactly a windy city, the unchecked pollution from vehicles and factories has resulted in an extremely thick, smoky layer that has been described as “suffocating” and “noxious”. The smog has become so bad that infrared cameras which can easily see through regular fog, have become useless on smoggy days because they can’t penetrate through the smokey particles that linger in the air.

The problem has become such as issue that the Chinese government is saying that it could pose a terrorist threat to the nation. Officials are afraid that without any way of properly monitoring the streets, a terrorist could easily strike and kill/injure many citizens on a smoggy day.

So what’s China’s solution? One would think that they’d work on trying to reduce to smog levels, but so far the scientists are looking at avoiding that all together and just working on better surveillance techniques. They are considering using radar imaging and highly advanced software algorithms to build a proper picture of targets that hide within the thick layer of smog. Hopefully they also realize that smog isn’t fog and work to correct the situation.

[Via: SCMP (Paywall) - Cover Photo: Wikimedia]

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