Smoggy holiday: Beijing residents brace for hazardous air quality at start of China’s National Day
Residents and tourists in Beijing are bracing themselves for hazardous smog during the first four days of the week-long National Day holiday, the capital’s weather forecaster says.
Air quality will start to worsen on Friday night before the start of the National Day on Saturday, with the smog level rising from “mild” to a peak of“moderate” over the following days, the Beijing Meteorological Service said.
Autumn and winter are usually the seasons when air pollution turns serious in northern China.
An Air Quality Index published by the United States Embassy in Beijing has been at an “unhealthy” level since 5pm on Thursday. The reading suggests people should limit prolonged outdoor exertion.
Last week, the authorities issued the first yellow alert – the lowest in the three-tier system – for poor air quality and said the smog had ushered in the start of the pollution season.
It will not be first National Day holiday when Beijing is engulfed by smog.
In September last year, authorities shut down factories and banned vehicles to create a blue sky for the massive military parade marking the 70th anniversary of China’s victory in the second world war, but the smog soon returned for the National Day holiday one month later.
In 2013, flights to the capital were reportedly cancelled owing to heavy smog.
The central government has grown increasingly concerned by the notorious smog problems in and around Beijing, which have caused public discontent and tarnished the image of the country’s political centre.
Various methods have been taken to make the sky clear in the capital.
Hebei province, which surrounds Beijing, will set up a no-coal zone from November 2017 to try to reduce air pollution in the region.
In February, Beijing announced a plan to develop a network of “ventilation corridors” to help disperse smog. The city also considers classifying worst smog events as natural disasters.