The elderly and children were advised by the government in Beijing to stay indoors on Monday as the country got ready to celebrate a Golden Week of holidays to commemorate the founding of Communist China amid a haze of heavy pollution.
In Beijing, pollution reached dangerous levels as the government issued a “yellow haze” alert and issued advisories for residents to stay indoors. Citizens have also been asked to avoid driving.
China is facing severe air pollution challenges.
It recently issued a 1.75 trillion-Yuan (284.2 billion USD) plan to tackle the worsening air, pledging to improve air quality within five years in order to decrease the number of heavily polluted days and improve the air in major city clusters, state media reported.
It’s clearly time for strict measures to be implemented.
Monday was the third consecutive “heavy pollution” day in the Capital with the sprawling city of nearly 20 million covered in a haze of smog formed from vehicular exhaust and pollution factories around the edge of the city suburbs.
Visibility was severely reduced and citizens brought out their anti-pollution masks while outdoors.
“Levels of PM2.5 particles are above 200 micrograms per cubic meter in most urban areas of the capital, that’s above safe levels. Many areas have a level 5 "heavy pollution" warning, with some places at level 6, the highest pollution level,” state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
“Residents are being advised to limit outdoor activities, and to wear masks if they have to stay outdoors. The elderly, the sick and young children are being advised to stay indoors,” it added.
Heavy pollution was reported from the neighbouring Tianjin and Hebei provinces.
According to reports, the current dangerous air quality is expected to continue till Wednesday.
According to the environmental monitoring center, 21 of the city’s 35 air quality monitoring spots had AQI readings surpassing 500, or heavy pollution, the highest on the six-tier scale, Beijing Times reported.
Vehicle emissions are considered one of the biggest sources of air pollution in Beijing, contributing more than one fifth of PM2.5 particles. There were more than 5.37 million vehicles in the city as of the end of August, Xinhua reported..
Beijing experienced one of its worst bouts of pollution in January this year when the city was covered in smog for about two weeks.