Reeling under the worst smog of the year, China’s pollution problems continue to be compounded as 40 cities including Beijing under red alert with schools canceling classes and factories cutting their production.
Beijing, together with the cities of Baoding, Handan, Langfang and Xingtai in the neighbouring Hebei Province, have issued red alerts, the most serious level of pollution.
The capital, a city of over 22 million people, is struggling with PM 2.5, the smallest and deadliest form of airborne particulate matter that almost touched 500, the highest category in the US Embassy pollution monitor which is regarded “hazardous”, as it is several times higher than the levels prescribed by WHO.
Beijing was hit with severe air pollution today, with pollution levels expecting to reach grade six on a six-grade pollution gauging system in the southern part of the city later in the day, Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center (BMEMC).
“Affected by increased humidity and temperature inversion, the density of PM 2.5 may exceed 500 micrograms per cubic meter on Tuesday,” Li Yunting, an environmental expert from BMEMC said.
During the red alert, cars will be allowed on the roads depending on whether their license plate ends in an odd or even number, enterprises and public institutions will adopt flexible working hours and large outdoor activities and construction work will be suspended.
Kindergartens, middle schools and primary schools will also cancel classes tomorrow.
Key polluting industries will cut production as continuous cleaning operations are conducted in the capital city.
China’s northern port city of Tianjin and other 12 cities from provinces of Hebei, Henan and Shandong have issued orange alerts.
Yellow alerts and blue alerts have been issued in 17 cities and 5 cities respectively, according to the air pollution emergency management headquarters of Beijing. China has a four-tier colour-coded weather warning system, with red representing the most severe weather, followed by orange, yellow and blue.
Caption for pic:A woman wearing a mask for protection against the pollution walks on a pedestrian overhead bridge as office buildings in Central Business District of Beijing are shrouded with smog. (AP photo)