Smoking is a choice, breathing is not.

Over the last week or so I’ve been posting about the air pollution levels in Beijing, China. The twitter feed from the US Embassy there makes it easy to track the hourly levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and you can use this R code to make a graph of the data. One problem with talking about particulate matter levels is that the units are a bit abstract. We usually talk in terms of micrograms per cubic meter (mcg/m^3), which is a certain mass of particles per volume of air.

Plotting BeijingAir Data

Here’s a bit of R code for scraping the BejingAir Twitter feed and plotting the hourly PM2.5 values for the past 24 hours. The script defaults to the past 24 hours but you can modify that by simply changing the value for the variable ‘n’. You can just grab the code from this R script. Note that you need to use the latest version of the ‘twitteR’ package because the data structure has changed from previous versions.