Forty northern cities of China, including Beijing, have issued air pollution alerts, according to emergency management centers of atmospheric pollution in the Chinese capital.

Beijing, along with the cities of Baoding, Andan, Langfang and Xingtai, in the neighboring province of Hebei, had issued red alerts, the most serious standard.

The China Central Television building covered in smog. Photo: AP.
The China Central Television building covered in smog. Photo: AP.

Beijing was hit by severe air pollution on Tuesday, with pollution levels that are expected to reach the sixth grade in a system for measuring contamination of six degrees in the south of the city late in the day, according to Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center.

Li Yunting, expert of the center, said that due to the increased humidity and temperature inversion, the city is struggling with PM 2.5, the smallest and deadliest form of airborne particulate matter that could exceed 500, the highest category in the US Embassy pollution monitor which is regarded “hazardous”, as it is several times higher than the levels prescribed by WHO.

However, the pollution level is expected to reduce to the fourth degree on Wednesday, which is still harmful for the health, and the smog is expected to disperse with the arrival of the cold, according to the center.

Another 12 cities in the provinces of Hebei, Henan and Shandong have issued orange alerts. Yellow and blue alerts have also been issued in 17 cities and 5 cities respectively, according to the air pollution emergency management headquarters of Beijing.

Tianjin city issued its first air pollution red alert on Monday night, when participating in the fight against winter prolonged smog with their neighboring, Beijing.

The red alert will start on Wednesday from 00:00 to 6:00 on Thursday, according to a government statement of Tianjin. During red alert in this port city, it will be restricted the circulation of half the cars, depending on whether their license plate number is odd or even; companies and public institutions adopt flexible work schedules, and major activities will be suspended outdoors.

In Tianjin, kindergartens, primary and secondary schools also canceled their classes. The major polluting industries will reduce the production, and continuous cleaning operations will take place in the central areas of the city.

Severe smog has hit the region of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei three times since November. The low wind speed, high humidity and unfavorable wind conditions are the main causes.

However, due to the crisis in the cities, a statement was issued after the Central Urban Work Conference, in which the government committed itself to transform the patterns of human development and improve the management of the cities.

During the conference, it was established that the livable cities should be the central objective of urban planning in China, and urban development should focus on creating environments where people can live in harmony with each other and nature.

The government will take a more sophisticated approach to urban planning, encouraging companies and citizens to participate in the creation of future cities.

Scientific studies attribute 1.4 million premature deaths per year to China’s smog, or nearly 4,000 per day. However, it is expected that global emissions reaches it’s maximum around 2030 before starting to decline.

Source: The Economic Times