Suf­fo­cat­ing:

Par­ents com­plain as city schools close due to high pol­lu­tion lev­els

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By CANG WEI and SONG WENWEI in Nan­jing

Face masks have be­come a daily ac­ces­sory for res­i­dents in Nan­tong, Jiangsu prov­ince. China’s most en­dur­ing smog so far this win­ter con­tin­ued to blan­ket Jiangsu, An­hui and Zhejiang prov­inces on Thurs­day.

For many Nan­jing res­i­dents, the clo­sure of the city’s schools, ex­press­ways, fer­ries and air­port on Thurs­day be­cause of heavy smog was just as ir­ri­tat­ing as the pol­lu­tion.

The city is­sued its first ever red alert for poor air qual­ity, due mainly to high lev­els of harm­ful par­tic­u­late mat­ter of 2.5 mi­crons or less in di­am­e­ter — known as PM2.5.

Ac­cord­ing to Nan­jing reg­u­la­tions, a red alert is is­sued when read­ings of PM2.5 ex­ceed an Air Qual­ity In­dex mea­sure of 300 for 12 hours in a row, and when vis­i­bil­ity is less than 1 kilo­me­ter.

The air qual­ity in­dex on Thurs­day was above 330 for the en­tire day and it is not ex­pected to im­prove un­til Sun­day, said the city’s en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion bureau.

Schools will also be closed on Fri­day.

Aside from the pol­lu­tion, par­ents in Nan­jing are com­plain­ing about the late no­tice given by the en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion bureau for the red alert on Wed­nes­day evening.

The city’s ed­u­ca­tion bureau or­dered kinder­gartens and pri­mary and mid­dle schools to sus­pend classes on Thurs­day.

Qi Guangyun, the fa­ther of an 8- year- old boy, said that he did not hear about the sus­pen­sion of classes un­til 8 pm on Wed­nes­day.

“It was too late for me to ask for leave (from work),” said Qi. “I had an im­por­tant meet­ing with clients com­ing from Shang­hai on Thurs­day morn­ing. My wife is on a busi­ness trip and won’t come back un­til Fri­day.”

De­spite the clo­sure, Qi sent his son to school and asked teach­ers to take care of him for the day. A few of the boy’s class­mates also went to school be­cause their par­ents were un­able to take the day off.

On Thurs­day at 10 am, Nan­jing Lukou In­ter­na­tional Air­port was shut down and more than 60 flights were de­layed.

All four of the bridges across the Yangtze River in Nan­jing were also shut down in the morn­ing and fer­ries across the river in the city’s Pukou dock were closed be­cause vis­i­bil­ity was less than 30 me­ters.

Vis­i­bil­ity in some re­mote ar­eas of the city, such as

Some peo­ple joked on the In­ter­net that they had sud­denly lost their eye­sight when they opened the cur­tains this morn­ing, but I can­not laugh when I think of my daugh­ter.” WU ZHI­WEN RES­I­DENT OF NAN­JING’S PUKOU DIS­TRICT

Jiangxin Is­land, was less than 50 me­ters in the morn­ing.

All ex­press­ways in Jiangsu prov­ince were closed un­til noon.

Wu Zhi­wen a res­i­dent of Nan­jing’s Pukou dis­trict, said she feels sorry for her 5-year-old daugh­ter be­cause she has to breathe in this pol­luted air.

“Af­ter I used the air pu­ri­fier for an hour, a red light popped up telling me that the air in the room was se­verely pol­luted,” said Wu.

“Some peo­ple joked on the In­ter­net that they had sud­denly lost their eye­sight when they opened the cur­tains this morn­ing, but I can­not laugh when I think of my daugh­ter.”

Liu Jian­lin, chief engi­neer at the en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion bureau for Jiangsu prov­ince, said in­dus­trial emis­sions con­trib­ute most to the city’s air pol­lu­tion.

“The emis­sions from cars, farm­ers burn­ing straw and dust from many in­fra­struc­ture con­struc­tion sites have made the sit­u­a­tion even worse,” Liu said.

She added that the air pol­lu­tion can only be im­proved if cities through­out the re­gion work to­gether.

“The work of en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion de­part­ments is far from enough,” said Liu.

The Na­tional Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Center in Bei­jing re­newed on Thurs­day a yel­low alert for fog and smog as dense air con­tin­ues to choke China’s east­ern and north­ern prov­inces, in­clud­ing Shan­dong, He­bei, Shanxi, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, An­hui and Jiangxi. A yel­low alert is the third high­est in China’s four-level alert sys­tem. Con­tact the writ­ers at cang­wei@chi­nadaily.com. cn and song­wen­wei@chi­nadaily.com.cn RAIL­WAY FIRM BUYS ‘HAZE-PROOF’ LO­CO­MO­TIVES

Five “haze-proof” lo­co­mo­tives, which were de­signed to pre­vent haze-in­duced elec­tric prob­lems, have been sold to China Rail­way Corp, a rail-ve­hi­cle man­u­fac­turer an­nounced.

The HXD3C trains, pro­duced by a sub­sidiary com­pany of the China CNR Co Ltd, are able to work ef­fec­tively even in foggy and hazy weather, China CNR said in a state­ment re­leased on its web­site on Wed­nes­day.

Heavy-metal par­ti­cles sus­pended in hazy air can af­fect elec­tric de­vices on top of the lo­co­mo­tives and even par­a­lyze the trains’ en­gine sys­tem, the state­ment said.

The com­pany said that in the past, when air pol­lu­tion was not as bad, it was easy to clear dust from the top of the trains us­ing blow­ing ma­chines. How­ever, with the wors­en­ing pol­lu­tion in re­cent years, clean­ing the trains has be­come more dif­fi­cult.

The com­pany got an or­der for 50 haze-proof lo­co­mo­tives from China Rail­way in the lat­ter half of this year.

The com­pany’s engi­neers have been to He­bei prov­ince and the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties of Bei­jing and Tian­jin, where the air pol­lu­tion is heavy, to test and im­prove the lo­co­mo­tives’ ca­pa­bil­i­ties, the com­pany an­nounced.

When the five lo­co­mo­tives will go into ser­vice is un­clear. China Daily’s phone calls to China Rail­way and the CNR went unan­swered on Thurs­day.

On Jan 16, a train bound for Han­dan, He­bei prov­ince, had its elec­tric­ity cut off when it ar­rived at a sta­tion in the morn­ing. The rail­way au­thor­i­ties found that the fail­ure was caused by the hazy weather, since the float­ing par­ti­cles stuck to the elec­tric net­works, He­bei Youth Daily re­ported.

Power was re­sumed af­ter the lo­co­mo­tive was re­placed. No pas­sen­gers were in­jured, the re­port said.

XU PEIQIN /FOR CHINA DAILY

YANG DUODUO / FOR CHINA DAILY

Par­ents in Nan­jing try to pro­tect their chil­dren from heavy air pol­lu­tion in the city on Thurs­day. Schools were closed on Thurs­day and have been or­dered to close on Fri­day.

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