Fog, pol­lu­tion in north dis­rupt travel

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By QI XIN in Zhengzhou and ZHENG JINRAN in Bei­jing

A com­bi­na­tion of pol­lu­tion and heavy fog af­fected count­less road, rail and air pas­sen­gers across north­ern China on Wed­nes­day.

By 4:30 pm, 154 flights had been canceled at Tian­jin Bin­hai In­ter­na­tional Air­port, with another 120 de­layed. A to­tal of 450 flights were sched­uled to ar­rive and de­part dur­ing the day.

The city also closed all 20 free­ways due to low vis­i­bil­ity in the morn­ing, although half were re­opened at 2 pm, ac­cord­ing to the lo­cal trans­porta­tion com­mis­sion.

At Shi­jiangzhuang Zhengding In­ter­na­tional Air­port in He­bei prov­ince, 88 flights were canceled and 17 de­layed as of noon on Wed­nes­day.

All trans-provin­cial bus ser­vice from Bei­jing Cap­i­tal In­ter­na­tional Air­port was sus­pended.

Zhou Caix­i­ang bought tick­ets to fly from Zhengzhou, cap­i­tal of He­nan prov­ince, to her home city of Shen­zhen in Guang­dong prov­ince, weeks ago. How­ever, on Wed­nes­day she aban­doned the plan due to heavy smog. The 26-year-old in­stead bought train seats.

“It is bet­ter to spend hours on a train than wait­ing anx­iously at an air­port,” she said, adding that the jour­ney takes two hours by air and seven hours by high-speed rail.

At least 32 cities have is­sued red alerts for air pol­lu­tion, the high­est emer­gency re­sponse in the four-tiered sys­tem, the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion said.

The lin­ger­ing smog has made Bei­jing ex­tend its orange alert, which started on Dec 30, un­til Satur­day.

Along with the smog alerts, China also is­sued a red alert for fog on Tues­day, the first since the gov­ern­ment re­vised the fog warn­ing sys­tem in 2013.

The fog cov­ered an area as large as 150,000 square kilo­me­ters, se­verely dis­rupt­ing traf­fic, he said.

The fog was fore­cast to lift in some parts on Wed­nes­day night, thanks to wind, which will also ease the heavy air pol­lu­tion, he said, adding that the af­fected ar­eas are fore­cast to have clean air be­gin­ning on Sun­day night.

Con­tact the writ­ers at zhengjin­ran@chi­nadaily. com.cn

TONG YU / FOR CHINA DAILY

A stone lion on a bridge in Tian­jin is cov­ered with a mask in the heavy smog that has hit much of the coun­try’s north­ern re­gions.

WANG XIAO / XIN­HUA

Stu­dents in a pri­mary school in Shi­ji­azhuang, cap­i­tal of He­bei prov­ince, have their phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion class on Wed­nes­day in a gym cov­ered with an air clean­ing sys­tem.

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