North set for bout of se­vere pol­lu­tion

Beijing-Tian­jin-He­bei region is tar­get­ing a re­duc­tion in the con­cen­tra­tion of PM2.5

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

Res­i­dents in north­ern re­gions, in­clud­ing Beijing, Tian­jin and He­bei prov­ince, will en­counter an­other bout of se­vere smog start­ing on Fri­day night that is fore­cast to last un­til Dec 21, the na­tional me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal author­ity said on Wed­nes­day.

The com­ing pol­lu­tion is fore­cast to reach haz­ardous levels, peak­ing on Tues­day and Wed­nes­day next week, with vis­i­bil­ity in some ar­eas low­ered to 1 kilo­me­ter, the Na­tional Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Cen­ter said on Wed­nes­day.

The smog will cover vast re­gions in­clud­ing Beijing, Tian­jin and parts of He­bei, Shanxi, He­nan and Shaanxi prov­inces. Wind is ex­pected to dis­perse the pol­lu­tants af­ter Dec 21, it added.

“I have lost count of the num­ber of smoggy days since Novem­ber, and it has brought me not only grow­ing health con­cerns, but also a feel­ing of de­pres­sion when­ever I see the gray skies,” said Zhang Ya­jun, a 29-year-old from Shi­ji­azhuang, cap­i­tal of He­bei prov­ince.

On Dec 3 and 4, Shi­ji­azhuang saw the Air Qual­ity In­dex reach the most haz­ardous level so far this month.

Since the be­gin­ning of Oc­to­ber, the city has had 15 more smoggy days than the same pe­riod last year, the na­tional me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal author­ity said.

“I know we have done a lot to reduce emis­sions, like sus- pend­ing some pol­lut­ing in­dus­tries, and I wish to see things im­prove quickly,” Zhang said.

The de­te­ri­o­ra­tion in some north­ern ar­eas was noted by the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion, and its lat­est monthly re­port on air qual­ity, it re­vealed an in­crease in the con­cen­tra­tion of fine par­tic­u­late mat­ter in the region in Novem­ber.

By 2017, the Beijing-Tian­jinHe­bei region is tar­get­ing a re­duc­tion in the con­cen­tra­tion of PM2.5 — fine par­tic­u­late mat­ter with di­am­e­ter of 2.5 mi­crons or less that is haz­ardous to hu­man health — by 25 per­cent from 2013 levels.

He­bei is fac­ing grow­ing pres­sure to reduce air pol­lu­tion, es­pe­cially due to fre­quent se­vere smog. But based on pre­vi­ous re­stric­tion mea­sures, it will be dif­fi­cult for He­bei to reach its tar­get on time, said He Ke­bin, head of the School of En­vi­ron­ment at Ts­inghua Univer­sity.

“But the prov­ince has strength­ened its re­stric­tions to cover more com­pa­nies and has stricter emis­sion stan­dards, which could help the prov­ince reach its goals by 2017, as long as it can fully en­force them,” He said.

It has brought me not only grow­ing health con­cerns, but also a feel­ing of de­pres­sion when­ever I see the gray skies.” Zhang Ya­jun, a 29-year-old from Shi­ji­azhuang

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