Beijing air pollution

Beijing hopes for wind as thick pall of smog descends ahead of Lunar New Year holiday

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 January, 2017, 12:17pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 January, 2017, 12:17pm

Beijing was again shrouded in heavy smog on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning even though factories in neighbouring provinces are closed and traffic light ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday.

The municipal environment agency issued a “blue alert” for heavy air pollution on Wednesday afternoon, warning citizens that Beijing might be hit by air pollution as it ushers in the Year of Rooster.

The alert, effective from 4pm on Wednesday, is forecast to last one day, according to a statement by the city’s air pollution emergency response office.

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The air quality index recorded by the US embassy in China reached 338 at 11am on Thursday, which is categorised as “hazardous”.

The authorities are hoping that winds will disperse the smog in the capital before the holiday period gets fully underway, bringing blue skies.

The smog has raised questions on social media about why there is still thick air pollution when most industrial plants are not running.

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The capital’s three-day New Year holiday was disrupted by severe smog earlier this month.

The city’s official air quality index reached 482 on January 1, almost touching the 500 mark where the scale tops out.

The US embassy said its own readings for air pollution on the same day were well beyond 500.

Smog levels above 300 are deemed hazardous to health.