New year to bring heavy smog to north­ern re­gions

Bei­jing has is­sued an orange pol­lu­tion alert from Dec 30 to Jan 1

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

Just in time to see in the new year, an­other bout of smog is to de­scend on Bei­jing and Tian­jin, as well as He­bei, He­nan and Shan­dong prov­inces, ar­riv­ing on Fri­day and last­ing for four to five days, the weather author­ity said on Thurs­day.

The Min­istry of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion is­sued no­tices to lo­cal gov­ern­ments on Wed­nes­day night, ask­ing them to take emer­gency mea­sures to re­duce the com­ing smog, while eight ci­ties in He­bei, in­clud­ing Shijiazhuang, is­sued red alerts and Bei­jing is­sued an orange alert on Thurs­day.

Air pol­lu­tion will worsen in some parts of the Bei­jing- Tian­jin-He­bei re­gion on Fri­day and ex­pand to cover larger ar­eas, “among which, the south­ern part of He­bei and neigh­bor­ing parts of Shan­dong will ex­pe­ri­ence more se­vere pol­lu­tion”, said Ma Xuekuan, chief fore­caster at the Cen­tral Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Ob­ser­va­tory.

The smog will clear on Jan 2 due to mild winds, but will re­turn on Jan 3 for two more days, Ma said.

In ad­di­tion to smog, some ci­ties in north­ern re­gions will ex­pe­ri­ence heavy fog, which could re­duce vis­i­bil­ity to 200 me­ters and add to traf­fic con­ges­tion dur­ing the three-day New Year’s Day hol­i­day, Ma added.

Res­i­dents in north­ern re­gions ex­pe­ri­enced this year’s most se­vere smog both in sever­ity and cov­er­age, which lasted for about a week ear­lier this month, trig­ger­ing more than 25 ci­ties to is­sue red alerts — the high­est in a four-tier warning sys­tem, fol­lowed by orange, yel­low and blue — lead­ing to the sus­pen­sion of schools and some fac­to­ries, and lim­ited use of ve­hi­cles.

To cope with the com­ing smog, the min­istry has called for joint mea­sures and will send 10 in­spec­tion teams to af­fected re­gions to mon­i­tor the im­ple­men­ta­tion of such mea­sures.

Bei­jing, which is­sued its only red alert this year from Dec 16 to 21, has is­sued an orange alert from 12 am on Fri­day to 12 am on Sun­day for the com­ing smog.

Eight ci­ties in He­bei, in­clud­ing Shijiazhuang, Baod­ing and Xing­tai, have is­sued red alerts, ac­cord­ing to the pro­vin­cial govern­ment.

In­spec­tors from the min­istry and lo­cal gov­ern­ments ex­posed many vi­o­la­tions of fac­tory sus­pen­sions dur­ing the last round of smog.

For ex­am­ple, some iron and steel com­pa­nies were found dis­charg­ing pol­lu­tants de­spite re­stric­tions, and are ex­pected to face heavy pun­ish­ments, ac­cord­ing to a pre­vi­ous state­ment by the min­istry.

“Early warn­ings and joint mea­sures were ef­fec­tive in re­duc­ing pol­lu­tion (this month), thus the min­istry will con­tinue to pro­mote co­or­di­nated ef­forts to re­duce smog,”

Early warn­ings and joint mea­sures were ef­fec­tive in re­duc­ing pol­lu­tion (this month).” Chai Fahe, re­searcher at the China Re­search Acad­emy of En­vi­ron­men­tal Sciences

said Chai Fahe, a re­searcher at the China Re­search Acad­emy of En­vi­ron­men­tal Sciences.

De­spite a smoggy start to 2017, Bei­jing will en­hance ef­forts to con­trol air pol­lu­tion with an aim of low­er­ing the city’s av­er­age PM2.5 — fine par­tic­u­late mat­ter less than 2.5 mi­crom­e­ters in di­am­e­ter that is haz­ardous to hu­man health — con­cen­tra­tion to 60 mi­cro­grams per cu­bic me­ter, said Fang Li, head of the Bei­jing Mu­nic­i­pal En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Bureau, on Thurs­day in a re­port to the cap­i­tal’s law­mak­ers.

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