Shang­hai braces for sec­ond day of se­vere pol­lu­tion

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - NATION - By ZHOU WENT­ING in Shang­hai zhouwent­ing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Shang­hai braced for a sec­ond day of se­vere pol­lu­tion on Mon­day af­ter the city’s Air Qual­ity In­dex hit record haz­ardous lev­els.

The city’s en­vi­ron­men­tal au­thor­ity is­sued its first orange alert — the sec­ond-high­est in its four-level warn­ing sys­tem — af­ter the in­dex reached 317.

The con­cen­tra­tion of PM2.5 — par­tic­u­late mat­ter smaller than 2.5 mi­crons in di­am­e­ter that can pen­e­trate the lungs — stood at an av­er­age of 266 mi­cro­grams per cu­bic me­ter in the pre­vi­ous 24 hours, run­ning from noon to noon.

It was the third day of se­vere pol­lu­tion within a month, and the Shang­hai En­vi­ron­men­tal Mon­i­tor­ing Center pre­dicted the Air Qual­ity In­dex would re­main be­tween 285 and 305 on Tues­day.

The in­dex is an in­te­grated as­sess­ment of six main air pol­lu­tants: sul­fur diox­ide, ni­tro­gen diox­ide, carbon monox­ide, ozone, PM10 and PM2.5.

China’s me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal de­part­ments is­sue an orange warn­ing for haze when vis­i­bil­ity is less than 2,000 me­ters and pol­lu­tion is sus­tained.

A photo taken by a Shang­hai res­i­dent at The Bund on Mon­day morn­ing that was widely spread on so­cial me­dia showed the Lu­ji­azui fi­nan­cial dis­trict, across the Huangpu River, shrouded in haze, with only a vague out­line of the skyscrap­ers vis­i­ble.

Some com­muters wore face masks, and some re­ported hav­ing sore throats and eyes.

“I haven’t stopped cough­ing since yes­ter­day, and my eyes are un­com­fort­able, es­pe­cially when I’m in the street,” said bank clerk Liu Wei, 28.

She said the air pu­ri­fier she bought in Oc­to­ber re­flected the poor air qual­ity. “Usu­ally the ma­chine will show the air in the room is clean af­ter work­ing for 10 min­utes, but it didn’t show the air was clean un­til it worked for more than an hour on Mon­day morn­ing, and the light flick­ered con­tin­u­ally to show the air was sub­stan­dard af­ter­ward.”

The se­vere pol­lu­tion be­gan on Satur­day night and be­came con­tin­u­ously worse, the Shang­hai En­vi­ron­men­tal Mon­i­tor­ing Center said.

The city’s ed­u­ca­tion com­mis­sion pub­lished two notices on Mon­day urg­ing kinder­gartens and schools to can­cel all out­door ac­tiv­i­ties.

Ex­perts said the pol­lu­tion was caused by an in­dus­trial dis­charge in the Yangtze River Delta re­gion that was not dis­persed by cold air from the north.

“A new wave of cold air from the north will help dif­fuse the pol­lu­tants,” said Qian Hua, di­rec­tor of the re­search in­sti­tute of at­mo­spheric en­vi­ron­ment un­der the Shang­hai Academy of En­vi­ron­men­tal Sciences.

How­ever, the city’s lo­ca­tion on the east coast means its air qual­ity will be less de­sir­able in win­ter, he said.

“Winds from the south­east are dom­i­nant in sum­mer, and ocean wind is clean. So when the air on the main­land is hit by air from the ocean, the air qual­ity will im­prove,” he said. “In win­ter, the wind from the north is usu­ally dirty.”

More­over, leaves fall from trees in the cold weather, and that weak­ens the plants’ abil­ity to cap­ture dust, ex­perts said. The pol­lu­tion wors­ened on Mon­day morn­ing be­cause of traf­fic and power con­sump­tion in fac­to­ries and other work­places.

“The dry cli­mate also de­creases the chance of dust be­ing ab­sorbed by mois­ture,” Qian said.

With the heavy pol­lu­tion, face masks have be­come cov­eted mer­chan­dise. Sev­eral stores on Taobao, a ma­jor online shop­ping site, that sell face masks claim­ing to fil­ter PM2.5 par­ti­cles said busi­ness is boom­ing.

GAO ERQIANG / CHINA DAILY

A for­eign jog­ger frowns as she does her morn­ing ex­er­cise on The Bund in Shang­hai on Mon­day morn­ing.

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