Smog re­turn­ing to Bei­jing area

China Daily (Canada) - - HOLIDAY - By DUJUAN dujuan@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The Bei­jing-Tian­jin-He­bei area and neigh­bor­ing re­gions are fore­cast to see heavy air pol­lu­tion start­ing on Thurs­day and last­ing for three days as a re­sult of cli­ma­to­log­i­cal con­di­tions and hol­i­day fire­works, of­fi­cials said.

The den­sity of PM2.5, par­tic­u­latem­at­ter with a di­am­e­ter smaller than 2.5 mi­crom­e­ters, will peak on Fri­day in the re­gion, the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion said on its of­fi­cial web­site.

Con­di­tions were wors­ened by the tra­di­tional prac­tice of set­ting off fire­crack­ers on the fifth day of the first month in the lu­nar cal­en­dar, which fell on Wed­nes­day this year.

“The air dif­fu­sion con­di­tions will grad­u­ally get bet­ter on Sun­day in most ar­eas in the coun­try, which will ease the pol­lu­tion,” the an­nounce­ment said.

Other fac­tors also con­trib­uted to the air pol­lu­tion in the Bei­jing-Tian­jin-He­bei re­gion.

Many large com­pa­nies, es­pe­cially steel mills and petro­chem­i­cal fac­to­ries, do not stop pro­duc­tion dur­ing the Spring Fes­ti­val hol­i­day in that area. Au­thor­i­ties found that some com­pa­nies in He­bei prov­ince were dis­charg­ing emis­sions above the amount al­lowed.

With the Spring Fes­ti­val hol­i­day end­ing on Thurs­day, small and medium-sized com­pa­nies will restart pro­duc­tion and a large num­ber of peo­ple will re­turn to their jobs in the ci­ties. Those fac­tors also add emis­sions that af­fect the air qual­ity.

The En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Min­istry said it will closely mon­i­tor air qual­ity changes and ask the lo­cal gov­ern­ments to strictly for­bid ex­ces­sive emis­sions.

In re­cent years, the min­istry has en­cour­aged the pub­lic not to set off fire­crack­ers to cel­e­brate the new year for the sake of air qual­ity.

Feng Yin­chang, a pro­fes­sor spe­cial­iz­ing in en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion at Nankai Univer­sity, said coal-burn­ing boil­ers for heat­ing con­sti­tute a ma­jor source of win­ter air pol­lu­tion in Bei­jing and neigh­bor­ing re­gions.

Even though most down­town ar­eas have re­placed the use of coal for heat­ing with cleaner en­ergy such as nat­u­ral gas, in large ru­ral ar­eas around Bei­jing, fam­i­lies still use coal for heat­ing, re­sult­ing in high sul­fur diox­ide emis­sions.

HEI KE / FOR CHINA DAILY

Work­men use molten iron to cre­ate a scene like a star­lit night in He­bei prov­ince’sWeix­ian county on Mon­day. The tra­di­tion is a pop­u­lar way to cel­e­brate Spring Fes­ti­val.

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