China Issues Red Alert Over Air Pollution
China has issued its first-ever red alert for smog. The red alert is the most serious warning on a four-tier system that means authorities have forecast more than three consecutive days of severe smog.
An online notice from the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau said it issued the alert to “protect public health and reduce levels of heavy air pollution.” The Government is urging schools to close and invoking restrictions on factories and traffic that will keep half of the city’s vehicles off the roads.
Xinhua, the state news agency, posted on its English-language Twitter account: “Beijing issues first red alert for heavy smog. Odd-even car ban imposed; schools suspended.”
Readings of PM2.5 particles climbed toward 300 micrograms per cubic meter on Monday and are expected to continue rising before the air begins to improve with the arrival of a cold front on Thursday. The World Health Organization designates the safe level for the tiny, poisonous particles at 25.
Most of the pollution is blamed on coal-fired power plants, along with vehicle emissions and construction and factory work.