Alarming smog levels in China as new report warns of rapid warming

  • Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times, Beijing
  • Updated: Nov 30, 2015 23:05 IST
This picture taken on November 29, 2015 shows pagodas on a polluted day in Hohhot, north China's Inner Mongolia region. (AFP)

Beijing has issued the highest pollution alert for the year with smog levels on Monday rapidly crossing readings way above the hazardous mark.

Alarming levels of pollution are being recorded even as a recent government report has said that impact of climate change in China is worse than experienced globally.

Temperatures in China, for example, are rising faster than the global average, it said.

The report is expected to be tabled in Paris at UN climate change conference.

The smog situation, meanwhile, worsened across large swathes of northern China, forcing authorities in many regions to upgrade its pollution alert code from ‘yellow’ to ‘orange’, the second highest in the category before ‘red’.

“Smog will continue in most parts of north China on Tuesday and Wednesday, the National Meteorological Center (NMC) forecast. Serious pollution, along with smog, hit Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shandong, Shanxi and Henan on Sunday and Monday,” state media said in a report.

The state-run Global Times newspaper reported that under an orange alert, apart from the suspension of production at industrial plants, construction sites are also required to halt the transportation of materials and waste, and heavy-duty trucks are banned from the roads.

Many schools in Beijing temporarily suspended outdoor activities for students; if the pollution increases Tuesday, it is likely that schools will be shut for the day.

Vehicles drive amid heavy smog in Beijing, China. (REUTERS)

According to pollution readings by the US embassy in Beijing, PM2.5 particles, considered extremely hazardous, exceeded the 600-mark.

Official government figures for PM2.5 stopped at the 500-mark.

Meanwhile, the government report on climate change in China issued by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MST) has said that annual average temperature in China increased by the 0.9-1.5 degree centigrade since 1909, terming the increase more than the global average.

Titled “Third National Assessment Report on Climate Change”, the report added that the “rate of sea-level rise along China’s coasts from 1980 to 2012 was 2.9 mm, higher than the global average”.

Quoted by the China Meteorological Administration (CMA), the report added that glaciers in the country are retreating at an accelerated rate.

“The glaciers in China have retreated, and the trend is accelerating. From 1970s to this early century, the area of glaciers and frozen earth has shrunk 10.1% and 18.6%, respectively,” the CMA quoted the report as saying.

The report was compiled over three years by over 500 experts from MST, CMA and the Chinese Academy of Sciences among other top government institutions.

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