Via the South China Morning Post: Flights diverted and schools closed as China is once again cloaked in smog. Excerpt:
Thick fog exacerbated by air pollution has caused disruption on Thursday in eastern areas of China, as concern grows over the public health implications of the hazardous atmosphere.
Forty flights arriving at Shanghai's Pudong International airport were diverted and 20 others cancelled early in the morning amid the fog.
Shanghai’s meteorology authority issued this winter’s first orange fog alarm past midnight last night. Air pollution monitoring sites showed an average PM2.5 reading of the city had soared above 250, a level labelled as “very unhealthy”, throughout Thursday morning.
Photos circulated on social networking websites showed greatly reduced visibility in Shanghai, falling to 50 metres in some areas. Meteorology officials on Wednesday forecasted the weather conditions would continue until a cold air would blow away pollutants next Monday.
Planes were grounded for several hours at one point and half a dozen highways were closed at one point. They were slowly opened before noon.
Classes were suspended on Thursday at kindergartens, primary and middle schools in Nanjing, after the Jiangsu's provincial capital had recorded the worst air pollution of the year on Wednesday, Xinhua reported.
Nanjing education authorities still required teachers to work normally in case parents could not look after their children at home.
The suspension came after the amount of PM 2.5 particles in the air had exceeded the level of 300 on the Air Quality Index (AQI) for 12 hours on Wednesday. The pollution prompted the municipal government command centre overseeing the environent to issue an immediate red alert, the first one this year.
At midnight Friday morning, Shanghai's air quality index was 458.