Blue skies re­turn af­ter smoggy week­end

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By ZHENG JINRAN zhengjin­ran@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Res­i­dents of the coun­try’s north­ern re­gions em­braced blue skies on Monday fol­low­ing thick smog that smoth­ered more than 60 cities on the week­end, which was the first time dif­fer­ent re­gions have is­sued alerts jointly.

A cold front with strong winds helped dis­perse air­borne pol­lu­tants, blow­ing them south­ward, but also low­ered tem­per­a­tures in north­ern re­gions, as much as 12 de­grees in some ar­eas, the Cen­tral Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Ob­ser­va­tory said on Monday.

The cold front is due to last for about five days, bring­ing with it good air qual­ity, it said.

Af­ter the cold front fades, some cities in north­ern re­gions will see smog re­turn on the week­end, Zhang Zuqiang, spokesman for the China Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Ad­min­is­tra­tion, said on Fri­day.

Though the most re­cent bout of heavy smog dis­persed on Monday, it af­fected many peo­ple in more than 60 cities in seven prov­inces and mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties over the week­end, in­clud­ing Beijing, Tian­jin, He­bei and Shan­dong, the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion said.

The min­istry sent early warn­ings to the af­fected gov­ern­ments three days ahead of the ar­rival of the smog, re­quir­ing them to take joint con­trols to re­duce air pollution.

The cities is­sued dif­fer­ent lev­els of emer­gency re­sponses, mak­ing it the first time the coun­try has is­sued such joint alerts, the min­istry said.

Among the 60 cities, nine, in­clud­ing Shi­ji­azhuang and Baod­ing of He­bei prov­ince, is­sued red alerts, the high­est emer­gency re­sponse in a four-tier sys­tem, fol­lowed by orange, yel­low and blue.

In ad­di­tion, 24 cities is­sued orange alerts, 22 is­sued yel­low alerts and the re­main­ing five is­sued blue alerts, the min­istry said.

For the dif­fer­ent alerts, the gov­ern­ment en­forced var­i­ous re­stric­tions to re­duce emis­sions of pol­lu­tants, and tight­ened mon­i­tor­ing of such re­stric­tions over the week­end. The min­istry sent four in­spec­tion teams to He­bei and Shan­dong prov­inces, which ex­posed vi­o­la­tions, es­pe­cially by high-pol­lut­ing and small com­pa­nies, the state­ment said.

The min­istry has called on lo­cal en­vi­ron­men­tal au­thor­i­ties to deal with ex­posed vi­o­la­tions se­verely and tighten mon­i­tor­ing dur­ing heavy smog.

“The Beijing-Tian­jin-He­bei re­gion has been listed as one of the zones with se­vere air pollution among re­gions from North Africa to East Asia,” Wang Jin­nan, chief en­gi­neer of the Chi­nese Academy for En­vi­ron­men­tal Plan­ning, was quoted as say­ing by Le­gal Daily.

XIN­HUA

Emer­gency re­sponse

Fire­fight­ers at­tend the site of an ac­ci­dent af­ter a bus col­lided with an on­com­ing truck in Mang­shi, Yun­nan prov­ince, on Sun­day. Nine peo­ple died and 20 oth­ers were in­jured in the in­ci­dent, which oc­curred at about 3 pm, according to the city’s in­for­ma­tion of­fice. The cause of the in­ci­dent is un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

SI WEI / FOR CHINA DAILY

Peo­ple drive through smog in Lianyun­gang, Jiangsu prov­ince, on Monday. The prov­ince is­sued a blue alert, the low­est level, for air pollution.

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