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article imageAir pollution in northern China halts traffic and factory work

By Karen Graham     Dec 19, 2016 in Environment
Tianjin - Concentrations of airborne pollutants in Shijiazhuang, the capital of northern Hebei province in China have reached levels 100 times higher than World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for the third straight day in a row.
Because of the thick, choking smog, some northern cities have restricted traffic flow using the odd-even license plate method used around the world, or in some cases, halted all traffic, and a number of factories have been closed or put on a shortened work schedule.
In Beijing on Monday, over 700 factories were ordered to stop production and traffic police were restricting driving on roads using the alternating license numbers, reports CTV News.
The "Red Alert" issued on Friday last week has affected a number of northern cities, closing schools, and forcing the enactment of other emergency measures. The alert is expected to last through Wednesday this week.
In Shijiazhuang, levels of PM 2.5 (fine particulate matter), soared to 1,000 micrograms per cubic meter, way above the WHO guideline of an annual average of no more than 10 micrograms per cubic meter.
In nearby Tianjin city, PM 2.5 levels reached 334 micrograms per cubic meter at 4:00 p.m. local time today, grounding the majority of flights at the local airport and the closure of all highways to travel. Tianjin increased public transportation capacity by 15 percent, as did Beijing, according to XinHua.net today.
"The smog has serious repercussions on the lungs and the respiratory system, and it also influences the health of future generations, so under a red alert, it is safer to stay at home rather than go to school," said Li Jingren, a 15-year-old high school student in Beijing, according to CTV News.
News.com.au is reporting that pollution alerts are becoming increasingly common in northern China's industrial heartland. And in winter, when the use of coal surges because of energy demands, it is even worse. And even though China has been working to reduce the emission of greenhouse gasses, its reliance on coal and a large number of older cars keep emission levels high.
More about Northern china, Air pollution, Air quality, transportation halted, coalburning factories
 
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