Via Shanghai Daily, February 24 report: China takes action as smog persists for 4th straight day.
Measures to control air pollution are being taken across China, including limiting vehicles on the roads and suspending factory production, after smog persisted in many areas for days.
The National Meteorological Center issued a yellow alert for smog yesterday morning, the fourth straight day such an alert has been announced.
North China’s Shijiazhuang, capital of Hebei Province, went on orange alert for smog, the second highest, early yesterday and an emergency response initiated.
The emergency response cuts private vehicles in use by 20 percent based on the last digit of their license plate. Vehicles with last plate digit of 1 or 6 were banned from urban areas yesterday.
Several steelmakers and related enterprises in five cities in the province were closed.
Hebei is China’s top steel producer and overcapacity has become the province’s major concern in tackling pollution. The latest move reduced iron production capacity and steelmaking capacity by 6.71 million and 1.49 million tons respectively.
Beijing went on orange alert last Friday for the first time. Manufacturing plants in the city have suspended or cut production, building work is halted, and no barbecues are allowed.
Thirty-six enterprises have suspended production, another 75 reduced their output since Friday, according to city officials.
At a construction site on the north side of Xinhua East Road in the capital, construction work has been suspended since Friday. Reporters could see no trucks with construction waste or bare earth at the site. A worker said work had been halted after receiving the smog alert.
Barbecue stands near Beijing’s Minzu University of China were advised to close by staff from the bureau of environment protection, according to a vendor.
The city’s road sweepers have also extended their working hours and frequencies since last Thursday.
“Besides road sweeping, we’ve also increased road spraying and cleaning work.” said Liu Yi, a driver of a sprinkler.
Zhang Zengshou, general manager of Beijing Jinyu Concrete, said the company had suspended production at two plants.
“The capacity of the suspended works both exceed 1.5 million cubic meters. They are the main production stations of our company, but we have followed the city’s regulation and shut them down,” Zhang said.
Physical education classes, outdoor exercise and sports meets at kindergartens, primary and high schools have also been called off in Beijing.
Neighboring Tianjin City has issued a yellow alert for the third consecutive day yesterday, suspending earthwork at construction sites and increasing road spraying.
According to the Ministry of Environmental Protection, almost all of north, east and central China is suffering. Beijing and the provinces of Hebei, Shanxi, Shandong, Henan and Liaoning reported severe smog.
China’s meteorological disaster alerts are categorized as blue, yellow, orange and red in order of increasing severity.
As of 4:00 a.m. Monday, local time, the Beijing Air Quality Index was 389 (hazardous). In the last two days, the AQI there has been as low as 155 (unhealthy) and as high as 418.