Monday, December 19, 2016

Five-Day Smog Red Alert in China!


China chokes through a five-day pollution red alert   
Published on Dec 18, 2016
China choking through alarming levels of smog.
Twenty-two cities declaring red alerts under blackening skies, a maximum warning only issued under forecasts of intense or long-lasting air pollution.
Monday marks day three under extreme haze.
"Beijing's pollution is very fierce, very serious. When I went out yesterday I didn't wear a mask and my throat really hurt, hurt a lot. I felt dizzy and it was hard to breathe through my nose."
Authorities have ordered residents to stay indoors, and in a bid to clear the hair, they've ordered some vehicles off the road.
Dozens of flights have been grounded while major highways and more than a thousand factories have been shut.
For many though, it's business as usual -- at the risk of serious health effects.
"We're food delivery guys, we spend the whole day running about so the pollution has a big effect on us, you can't see clearly and there are a lot of cars and people on the road."
Air quality readings have hit an eye-watering 400 in the city of Tianjin outside the capital, where 300 is considered hazardous by international standards
As winter kicks in, China is firing up more and more of its coal-fired power stations, many of them working overtime.
Especially in China's frigid northeast, currently the worst place for the country's choking haze.

Smog Affects about One Ninth of China's Territory   
Published on Dec 17, 2016
The smog weather has affected about one ninth of China's total land area by Saturday noon, according to the National Meteorological Center. 
The smog started to blanket north China and the Huanghuai regions on Friday and is expected to last until Dec. 21. 
The central weather authority continues to issue an orange alert for air pollution, after about one million square kilometers of the country's land was affected by smog. 
China has a four-tier color-coded system for severe weather, with red being the most serious, followed by orange, yellow and blue. 
Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shanxi, and Shaanxi will suffer severe smog with a minimum visibility of one km. The density of PM2.5, a major air pollutant, will reach its peak to 500 micrograms per cubic meter from Dec. 19-21. 
The Beijing municipal government has issued this year's first red alert for air pollution from Friday evening in response to severe smog. 
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Beijing issues first red alert for air pollution   
Published on Dec 7, 2015
Beijing issued a red alert for air pollution last night after it was hit by hazardous levels of pollution for the second time within a week.
It is the first time it′s ever issued the alert at this level, the highest in a four-tier system.
Kwon Jang-Ho brings us this report.
″Airpocalypse″ that′s the term that some English speakers in China′s capital use to describe the worst pollution days.
And on official terms, the toxicity has reached that worst level.
Beijing issued a red alert for air pollution on Monday,for the first time since the current warning system was adopted in 2013.
The alert is only issued when there are three or more days of ″serious″ pollution,and the current smog blanketing the city is expected to last till Thursday.
Schools have been shut down,people have been warned to stay indoors and outdoor operations at construction sites have been banned.
In addition,some industrial plants are required to limit or stop production altogether.
Car use has also been limited to alternating days,while 30 percent of government cars will also be banned from driving.
Extra subway trains and buses have been added to handle the additional strain on the public transportation system.
″We, as ordinary people, do not wish for this rollercoaster,for severe smog to appear one day and then blue sky with white clouds appearing the next. We hope to live in a state that has blue skies and white clouds every day.″
The amount of PM two-point-five smog laden with high levels of yellow sand and particles that can be hazardous to human health was climbing toward 300 micrograms per cubic meter on Monday.
PM stands for ″particulate matter.″
The latest climb on Monday is more than ten times what the World Health Organization considers safe.
Last week that level reached almost a thousand,... but no red alert was issued,as the haze wasn′t expected to last for three days.
In Korea, there is concern about the alert because the smog and dust can sometimes travel the distance.
But, according to experts,the presence of northerly winds means that Korea will not be affected... this time.
Kwon Jang-Ho, Arirang News.
China restricts cars, factories amid 5-day smog red alert
Schools, construction sites closed as smog smothers China's capital and other northern cities
The Associated Press
Posted: Dec 17, 2016
Women wearing masks for protection against pollution walk on a street in Beijing, on Thursday. Authorities in Beijing issued an air pollution first red alert, the highest of a four-tier system on Thursday as heavy smog is forecast to hit the capital city from Friday onwards, triggering vehicle restrictions and forcing schools and construction projects to close. (Andy Wong/Associated Press)
China's capital and other northern cities have banned half of all vehicles from city streets and ordered factories, schools and construction sites closed in response to a five-day smog red alert.
The emergency steps enacted Friday night significantly reduced traffic in Beijing on Saturday, although it wasn't clear what effect it was having on air pollution.
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By midday, the capital was enveloped in a smothering layer of smog, with concentrations of microscopic PM2.5 — small, inhalable particles that can penetrate deep into the lungs and are considered a reliable gauge of air quality — rising to more than 10 times the level considered safe by the World Health Organization.
The alert that will run through Wednesday is the first issued this year and comes as coal-fired heating plants are ramping up their output to help guard homes and offices against the frigid north China winter.
Beijing's air quality improves
Beijing has become notorious for heavy pollution in recent years, although experts said air quality actually improved in the first half of 2016.
The number of days in which air quality was rated good grew by 19 to 107, while the number of days with heavy pollution fell by two to 14, the bureau said.
That was attributed to the closure of 174 heavily polluting factories, along with the switching of 463 communities from coal to alternative energy sources, the retirement of tens of thousands of exhaust-spewing cars, trucks and buses, and the addition of 6,803 vehicles running purely on electricity.
Still, retired worker and lifelong Beijing resident Yu Changhai said the situation remained dire.
"I think it is getting more and more serious every year. I'm a native who lived in Beijing since I was born. The air of Beijing was much better in old time. In the past 10 years, it has been deteriorating fast," Yu said.
Researchers at Germany's Max Planck Institute have estimated that smog has led to 1.4 million premature deaths per year in China, while the non-profit group Berkeley Earth in California has had a higher figure, 1.6 million.
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