China issues highest possible pollution alert as smog engulfs Beijing

Beijing: China on Friday issued red — the highest level response — and orange alerts as heavy smog engulfed Beijing and other parts of the country ahead of the New Year.

PM2.5 readings in many areas of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Province exceeded 200. In Shijiazhuang, Hebei provincial capital, the index exceeded 400, meaning serious pollution.

Beijing started its orange alert, the second-highest level. The alert will continue on Saturday and Sunday.

 China issues highest possible pollution alert as smog engulfs Beijing

Representational image. Reuters

Tianjin began an orange alert last night, banning heavy diesel trucks from roads and cutting 30 percent of pollutant emissions of key factories.

Eight cities, including Shijiazhuang in Hebei, activated red alerts, the highest level response, last night, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Seven cities in Henan, including provincial capital Zhengzhou, began a red alert. Zhengzhou suspended school classes.

The pollution returned early week long red alert due to heavy smog over Beijing and 23 other cities last week leading to imposition of odd even number system to regulate vehicles and closure of schools.

The new round of pollution is forecast to last until 5 January in Hebei and Henan.

The smog also hit Shandong Province, where Jinan, Dezhou and Liaocheng cities will be put on red alert.

Measures such as suspension of school classes and restriction of cars, will be adopted in red alert areas.

The heavy pollution was reportedly due to ramping up of production by factories ahead of next month's Chinese New Year during which the country will be shutdown for a fortnight.

Updated Date: Dec 30, 2016 17:52:29 IST