Beijing mushroom cloud: What in the world is it? According to the AFP, the enormous cloud, which many describe as something you're likely to witness following an atomic explosion, is the direct result of illegal straw burning. Although some have claimed that the cloud is actually the fallout from a chlorine leak at a chemical or an eruption at a steel refinery, Chinese authorities have insisted that nothing of the sort has taken place. If you'd like to insist that cloud is the result of some sort of industrial accident, chances are they will throw you in jail.
"Many farmers choose to burn crops that are left behind in their fields after harvesting," Xinhua's official news agency reported Monday. Area residents, however, aren't entirely convinced that straw burning is the culprit.
Several videos featuring the peculiar cloud have recently made their way to YouTube. You can check out one such video below:
Before the mushroom cloud was spotted in the skies above Wuhan, officials struggled to explain a bizarre green and yellow haze that had slowly engulfed the city. The appearance of this unusual fog prompted the environmental department to issue a statement advising children, the elderly, and people with respiratory problems to stay indoors until further notice. Not surprisingly, face mask usage immediately went through the roof.
Perhaps the most alarming aspect of the entire story is that no one really knows where the cloud originated or why it continues to plague the area. Although officials are sticking to their straw-burning theories, some residents are deciding to leave the city altogether until the haze has lifted and a proper explanation has been offered.
According to the Huffington Post, pollution in China continues to be a major problem. In fact, authorities have asked the U.S. Embassy in Beijing to stop publishing reports on the subject, claiming that such readings were against diplomatic conventions.