‘Cold front to dis­perse pol­lu­tion over weekend’

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By ZHENG XIN zhengxin@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The heavy smog that has shrouded the Bei­jing-Tian­jinHe­bei area for sev­eral days eased some­what on Thurs­day af­ter­noon, but ex­perts said it won’t dis­perse un­til Satur­day.

Eleven of the 39 cities in the re­gion wit­nessed an hourly PM2.5 in­ten­sity above 150 mi­cro­grams per cu­bic me­ter on Thurs­day, ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion.

PM2.5 refers to par­tic­u­late mat­ter with a di­am­e­ter smaller than 2.5 mi­cro­grams, which can harm people’s hearts and lungs and may be linked to cancer.

Ac­cord­ing to the na­tional stan­dard, an hourly PM2.5 in­ten­sity above 75 mi­cro­grams per cu­bic me­ter in­di­cates pol­luted air.

Con­cen­tra­tions soared to 339 mi­cro­grams per cu­bic me­ter in down­town Bei­jing on Thurs­day morn­ing, while the south­west­ern part of the city saw 361 mi­cro­grams per cu m, ac­cord­ing to the Bei­jing En­vi­ron­men­tal Mon­i­tor­ing Cen­ter.

Pol­lu­tant lev­els dropped to roughly half that by Thurs­day af­ter­noon and evening, but re­mained at un­healthy lev­els.

Cold air can be ex­pected over the weekend, when most of Bei­jing and the neigh­bor­ing ar­eas will have fa­vor­able weather that will dif­fuse the pol­lu­tants, ac­cord­ing to the mu­nic­i­pal me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal cen­ter.

The Bei­jing En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Bureau is­sued a yel­low smog warn­ing on Thurs­day, sug­gest­ing that the cap­i­tal’s schools and kinder­gartens sus­pend out­door ex­er­cises and urg­ing heav­ily pol­lut­ing en­ter­prises to cease op­er­a­tions. It also urged res­i­dents to use pub­lic trans­porta­tion.

The city govern­ment sent out batches of law en­force­ment of­fi­cers to mon­i­tor con­struc­tion sites and il­le­gal out­door bar­be­cues.

Ma Jun, di­rec­tor of the In­sti­tute of Pub­lic and En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs, said that in ad­di­tion to re­leas­ing gen­eral warn­ings about pol­lu­tant in­ten­sity, the govern­ment should mea­sure real- time emis­sions of the ma­jor pol­lut­ing en­ter­prises.

De­spite re­cent weather con­di­tions that hin­der smog dis­per­sal, the sus­pen­sion or re­duc­tion of pro­duc­tion at some en­ter­prises might mit­i­gate the pol­lu­tion, Ma said, adding that govern­ment should pro­vide strict su­per­vi­sion.

The ed­u­ca­tional au­thor­i­ties should also carry out the ex­perts’ rec­om­men­da­tion to sus­pend out­door ac­tiv­i­ties to en­sure chil­dren’s health, he said.

Lin Xiang, the mother of an 8-year-old boy in Bei­jing, said she bought var­i­ous masks for her fam­ily to pro­tect against in­hala­tion of dirty air and was es­pe­cially wor­ried about her son.

“Pri­mary schools should con­sider sus­pend­ing classes dur­ing days like this,” she said. “The ed­u­ca­tional au­thor­i­ties should con­sider dis­tance ed­u­ca­tion when it’s like this.”

The smog has also ex­tended to the east­ern and cen­tral re­gions of China, in­clud­ing Shan­dong and Hubei prov­inces. They saw parts of their ex­press­ways closed over the past two days.

The lin­ger­ing smog has se­ri­ously re­duced vis­i­bil­ity in Liaon­ing prov­ince, and the prov­ince has closed 13 high­ways. Vis­i­bil­ity was re­port­edly at only 50 to 60 me­ters in some places.

More than 10 flights were de­layed on Thurs­day morn­ing at Shenyang Taox­ian In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

China’s me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal ad­min­is­tra­tion is­sued a yel­low smog warn­ing na­tion­wide on Thurs­day morn­ing, fore­cast­ing that the se­ri­ous smog will linger in the Bei­jing-Tian­jinHe­bei re­gion, Shan­dong prov­ince, and Liaon­ing prov­ince un­til Fri­day night.

Fri­day’s com­ing cold air will help dis­perse the smog late in the day, with dis­per­sal ex­pected re­gion­ally by Satur­day night, said Zhang Tao, chief weath­er­man of the ad­min­is­tra­tion.


Stu­dents at Western Academy of Bei­jing play soc­cer near the in­ter­na­tional school’s dome, which is in­flated with pu­ri­fied air. The dome was set up in Novem­ber so that stu­dents can ex­er­cise on smoggy days.


Stu­dents of the Western Academy of Bei­jing play ten­nis in the dome.

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