China starts 2017 engulfed by smog, issues pollution alerts

A pedestrian wearing a mask looks back while passing by a slogan that reads: "If you want to go out, please take a public bus" in Beijing Monday, Jan. 2, 2017. Beijing and other cities across northern and central China were shrouded in thick smog Monday, Jan. 2, 2017, prompting authorities to delay dozens of flights and close highways. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
A star is twinkling above a pedestrian wearing a mask silhouetted against the city skyline shrouded in heavy smog in Beijing Monday, Jan. 2, 2017. Beijing and other cities across northern and central China were shrouded in thick smog Monday, Jan. 2, 2017, prompting authorities to delay dozens of flights and close highways. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

BEIJING — Beijing and other cities across northern and central China were shrouded in thick smog Monday, prompting authorities to delay dozens of flights and close highways.

The Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau extended an "orange alert" for heavy air pollution for three more days. Beijing's smog had initially been forecast to lift by Monday.

The "orange alert" is the third level, preceding a "red alert," in China's four-tiered warning system. On Sunday, 25 cities in China issued "red alerts" for smog, which triggers orders to close factories, schools and construction sites.

Air pollution readings in northern Chinese cities were many times above the World Health Organization-designated safe level of 25 micrograms per cubic meter of PM 2.5, the tiny, toxic particles that damage lung tissue. The readings exceeded 400 by Monday afternoon in several cities in the northern province of Hebei.

Expressways in Shijiazhuang, Hebei's capital, and more than a half-dozen other cities there were temporarily closed, according to notices posted on the official microblog of the province's traffic police.

In the central city of Zhengzhou, authorities ordered students from kindergarten through high school to stay home on Tuesday because of the smog.

More than 300 flights out of the northern city of Tianjin were canceled Sunday due to poor visibility.

Authorities have deployed teams of inspectors to check on polluting factories, reports said.

China has long faced some of the worst air pollution in the world, blamed on its reliance of coal for energy and factory production, as well as a surplus of older, less efficient cars on its roads.

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 nonprofit group Berkeley Earth in California has had a higher figure, 1.6 million.

You may also interested in

Asian stocks markets retreat after Wall Street...

Dec 23, 2016

Most Asian stock markets have declined in thin trading ahead of the Christmas holiday after Wall...

China says some factories have violated anti-smog...

Jan 3, 2017

China's environmental ministry says an unspecified number of companies have violated measures meant...

Asian shares mixed as investors consider latest...

Jan 5, 2017

Asian stock indexes mixed as investors assess latest Fed meeting minutes; Japan shares slip as yen...

Asia shares falter as investors watch dollar,...

Jan 6, 2017

Asian shares are wavering as a weaker dollar discourages investors who are shying away from risky...

China exports shrink as Trump trade tensions loom

Jan 13, 2017

China's exports fell back into contraction again last month, signaling renewed weakness for the...

People also read these

China begins to ease its 2,000-year-old monopoly...

Jan 3, 2017

China has started an overhaul of its salt industry, easing a monopoly that has existed in some form...

Asia shares falter as investors watch dollar,...

Jan 6, 2017

Asian shares are wavering as a weaker dollar discourages investors who are shying away from risky...

Choked by smog, Beijing creates new environmental...

Jan 8, 2017

Officials in Beijing have announced a new environmental police squad to root out illegal burning in...

Chinese delegation open to meeting Trump's team...

Jan 11, 2017

A Chinese official says President Xi Jinping's delegation to the World Economic Forum is open to...

China exports shrink as Trump trade tensions loom

Jan 13, 2017

China's exports fell back into contraction again last month, signaling renewed weakness for the...

About Us

Frontal Report is an emerging leader in all forms of media. We aim to be the leading news brand for readers around the world.

Contact us: sales@frontalreport.com

Subscribe Now!