Beijing issues red alert for air pollution

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Beijing, Dec 15 (IANS) Beijing is likely to see this year’s worst smog in the coming days, with the authorities issuing a red alert for air pollution.

A thick blanket of smog is likely to hit the city on Friday and may last for five days, Xinhua news agency reported.

The China National Environmental Monitoring Centre said Beijing and neighbouring Tianjin municipality and Hebei province will suffer from heavy air pollution. It will also affect Shandong and Henan provinces.

It was around the same time last year when Beijing issued a red alert — the highest of the four-tier air pollution warning system.

A red alert is also issued if the city’s Air Quality Index (AQI) reaches 500.

The red alert, which will be sounded from 8 p.m. on Friday, will ensure the suspension of construction activities while schools will be shut. Besides, half the cars will be off the roads since the odd-even number plate rule will come into place.

The alert will be called off on December 21.

Beijing is one of the world’s most polluted cities. It borders Hebei province, which accounts for 25 per cent of China’s steel production.

Air pollution is one of the biggest problems in Beijing. Authorities have been shutting down polluting factories around the city.

In June this year, a report said that worsening air pollution had reduced the average life expectancy in China by over two years.

It said air pollution was claiming a total 1.2 million lives every year in the country.

–IANS

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