Parents complain as city schools close due to high pollution levels
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. cn and email@example.com 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.
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.