Beijing issues first red smog alert for heavy pollution

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Photo: Xinhua

Beijing has upgraded its alert for air pollution from orange to red, the most serious level, on Monday afternoon.

The Beijing Emergency Management office has issued an orange alert in advance warning of heavy air pollution from December 7 to 9.  Authorities said they will have improved supervision on factories and exhausts from cars, which are responsible for discharging pollutants.

North China’s Hebei Province has been covered in smog since Saturday evening. The Air Quality Index (AQI) of Baoding city, about 150 kilometers (about 93 miles) southwest of the capital Beijing, reached 477 on Sunday morning. The number indicates that there is heavy pollution, according to Hebei Meteorological Administration. The World Health Organization has set its safe limit as 25.

Photo: Weibo user

Photo: Weibo user. She comments that she expects strong wind to blow the smog away, even it is cold winter.

According to the city’s emergency management headquarters, during a red alert, kindergartens, primary and high schools are advised to suspend classes, outdoor operations of construction sites are banned and some industrial plants are required to limit or stop production.

Car use will be limited as cars are allowed on the roads on alternating days depending on the odd or even numbers of their license plates. In addition, 30 percent of government cars will be banned from streets on an odd/even basis.

According to the Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center, heavy air pollution will linger until Thursday. It is expected to disperse Thursday afternoon as a cold front arrives.

This is the first time Beijing has issued a red alert for smog since 2013 when Beijing adopted an emergency response program for air pollution.

Four-tier alerts–blue, yellow, orange and red–will be issued on “heavy pollution” days. Red alert, the highest, will be issued for heavy pollution that is expected to last more than three days.

Smog in Beijing

Click here to check the Real-time Air Quality Index in Beijing:

The Beijing Emergency Management office has issued an red alert in advance warning of heavy air pollution from Monday to Wednesday. Authorities said they will have improved supervision on factories and exhausts from cars, which are responsible for discharging pollutants.
All schools have been ordered to keep students indoors and adjust classroom activities from Monday to Wednesday, according to Beijing Municipal Commission of Education.

On November 29, Beijing issued its second-highest warning to orange after pollution peaked to record levels. Strong winds dissipated the smog on December 1. On Saturday, the city issued another orange warning in advance and warned the elderly and children to stay indoors.

Here is one Smog Calendar uploaded by weibo user Zou Yi, @邹毅的邹, who said he took a photo of Beijing Television’s headquarters from his 13th-floor flat everyday and posted online.  

Smog Calendar by Weibo user Zou Yi.

Smog Calendar by Weibo user Zou Yi.

Story from CCTV NEWS and Xinhua.