Alert helps cut pol­lu­tants: ex­perts

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHENG JINRAN in Beijing zhengjin­ran@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Beijing’s first smog red alert has helped to pre­vent air pol­lu­tion from wors­en­ing, en­vi­ron­men­tal ex­perts said on Wed­nes­day.

The cap­i­tal has been on red alert since Tues­day morn­ing, and the warn­ing is due to be lifted at noon on Thurs­day.

The alert helped to cut con­cen­tra­tions of PM2.5 (par­tic­u­late mat­ter) by 10 per­cent on Tues­day, said Cheng Shuiyuan, head of the Col­lege of En­vi­ron­men­tal and En­ergy Engi­neer­ing at Beijing Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy.

His team has been car­ry­ing out a sim­u­la­tion ex­per­i­ment to as­sess the ef­fects of the emer­gency mea­sures taken by the gov­ern­ment in re­sponse to the red alert. al­lowed on the roads had worked, adding that other ef­forts such as re­duc­ing coal consumption have also helped to re­duce emis­sions. Un­der the red alert, ve­hi­cles are al­lowed on the roads on alternate days based on odd and even li­cense plate num­bers.

Other mea­sures taken in­clude shut­ting down in­dus­trial oper­a­tions and clos­ing schools and kinder­gartens.

At 5 pm on Wed­nes­day, the read­ing for PM2.5 in Beijing was 233, still four times more than the safe level, the mu­nic­i­pal en­vi­ron­men­tal watch­dog said. The smog is ex­pected to per­sist un­til noon on Thurs­day when wind is forecast to dis­perse it.

Wang Zifa, a re­searcher at the In­sti­tute of At­mo­spheric Physics at the Chi­nese Acad­emy of Sci­ences, said the emer­gency mea­sures had cut pol­lu­tion.

Dur­ing the smog alert, 70 per­cent of pol­lu­tants had been gen­er­ated from Beijing and sur­round­ing ar­eas, he said.

The cap­i­tal has sus­pended or stopped pro­duc­tion at about 2,100 pol­lut­ing com­pa­nies and out­door work has been halted at 3,500 con­struc­tion sites.

In in­spec­tions at 528 pol­lut­ing com­pa­nies and con­struc­tion sites on Wed­nes­day, the Beijing en­vi­ron­men­tal watch­dog found 37 vi­o­lat­ing the re­stric­tions.

On Tues­day, the smog blan­keted at least six prov­inces and mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, cov­er­ing more than 840,000 square kilo­me­ters, the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion said.

In ad­di­tion to Beijing, Tian­jin and 29 cities in He­bei, Shan­dong and Shanxi prov­inces have is­sued dif­fer­ent lev­els of alert aimed at curb­ing the smog. This has re­duced coal consumption and ve­hi­cle use in many cities.

PHO­TOS BY FENG YONGBIN / CHINA DAILY

Chil­dren re­ceive aerosol ther­apy on Wed­nes­day at Beijing Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal, which has seen an in­crease in res­pi­ra­tory sys­tem diseases among young­sters since smog hit the cap­i­tal this week.

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