Beijing: The Chinese capital continued to be blanketed by hazardous smog for the second day today despite the first-ever red alert which halved the number of cars on the roads and shut factories and construction sites in the city of over 22 million people.
While heavy air pollution remained around 360 in PM2.5 particles in the US Embassy Air Quality Monitor in Beijing, meteorologists have issued warnings for the next bout of smog expected to cover the city from Saturday. The red alert is due to end tomorrow.
The levels of air pollution have not come down much despite allowing odd- and even-numbered cars on specific days which has eased pressure on roads.
There were far fewer pedestrians, and most donned white masks to filter the air.
The ministry of environmental protection claimed that emergency measures cut pollutant emissions in Beijing by 30 per cent between the start and late afternoon yesterday – day one of the city’s first red alert for smog.
Without the measures, the density of PM2.5, tiny and particularly hazardous airborne particles, would have risen by 10 per cent in that period, environmentalists with Beijing University of Technology said.
The density of PM2.5 sulfates, commonly caused by coal-burning, was much higher yesterday than on Monday, while the air held far less PM2.5 nitrates, mostly emitted by vehicles, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Chai Fahe, deputy head of the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences as saying.
That indicated that the traffic restrictions were effective but more work needs to be done to reduce emissionsfrom coal burning, Chai said.
Coal-powered winter heating systems are a big cause of the smog that blights north China at this time of year.
Market reports said there is a big rush for air purifiers whose prices have sky rocketed due to heavy demand. Several shops said they completely sold out the air purifiers.
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