Smog spreads out as read­ings spike

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By ZHENG JINRAN zhengjin­ran @chi­

Heavy smog con­tin­ued to plague vast ar­eas of China with alarm­ingly high air qual­ity in­dex read­ings on Mon­day, and in­spec­tors have un­cov­ered vi­o­la­tions of re­stric­tions that re­duce emis­sions.

In 24 cities, mainly in North and Cen­tral China, air pol­lu­tion on Sun­day hit “haz­ardous” lev­els. Read­ings in eight of those cities — such as Shi­ji­azhuang in He­bei prov­ince and Zhengzhou in He­nan prov­ince — sur­passed the up­per limit of 500 on the air qual­ity in­dex, the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion said on Mon­day af­ter­noon.

In Shi­ji­azhuang on Mon­day, the con­cen­tra­tion of PM2.5 ex­ceeded 1,000 mi­cro­grams per cu­bic me­ter at 1 pm and by 6 pm hov­ered around 900 at some mea­sur­ing sta­tions, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional En­vi­ron­men­tal Mon­i­tor­ing Cen­ter web­site.

PM2.5 refers to the par­tic­u­late mat­ter with a di­am­e­ter of 2.5 mi­crons or less that can pen­e­trate the lungs and is par­tic­u­larly harm­ful to hu­man health.

Se­vere smog is forecast to per­sist and get worse in North, Cen­tral and East China and to reach a peak on Wed­nes­day. On Mon­day, the pol­lu­tion be­gan to ex­pand into some re­gions fur­ther to the south, such as Hu­nan prov­ince.

Poor vis­i­bil­ity from the smog has dis­rupted air and

of PM2.5 per cu­bic me­ter of air reg­is­tered at 1 pm on Mon­day in Shi­ji­azhuang, He­bei prov­ince

ground traf­fic.

In Tian­jin, ex­press­ways and over 100 toll gates were closed, and the air­port sus­pended ser­vice from Sun­day night to 11:30 am Mon­day — 181 flights were can­celed and 59 de­layed.

To cope with the smog, Bei­jing, Shi­ji­azhuang, Tian­jin and 21 other cities is­sued red alerts, the high­est emer­gency re­sponse, by Mon­day. More than 50 cities in North, Cen­tral, East and South China had is­sued the sec­ond-high­est level alert, orange, by Mon­day, the min­istry said.

All these cities have placed strin­gent re­stric­tions on in­dus­trial emis­sions and lim­ited the use of ve­hi­cles. How­ever, in­spec­tors from the min­istry and prov­inces en­coun­tered many vi­o­la­tions over the week­end.

In Heze, Shan­dong prov­ince, the Runze Chem­i­cal Plant was still in pro­duc­tion on Sun­day de­spite the sus­pen­sion of pol­lut­ing ac­tiv­i­ties man­dated by the red alert.

By Mon­day, Bei­jing had found over 85,000 vi­o­la­tions against pri­vate au­to­mo­bile re­stric­tions, un­der which cars were al­lowed on the road on al­ter­nate days based on their li­cense plate num­bers.

Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Le­ung Chun-ying at­tends the open­ing cer­e­mony of the MTR South Is­land Line at the Ocean Park Sta­tion on Mon­day. The South Is­land Line will start for­mal op­er­a­tions on Dec 28.

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