Delhi chokes on toxic smog: Here’s what China did to control air pollution | delhi news | Hindustan Times
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Delhi chokes on toxic smog: Here’s what China did to control air pollution

As Delhi and surrounding areas tackle hazardous air pollution levels, we take a look at how China dealt with alarming air quality.

delhi Updated: Nov 09, 2017 12:48 IST
HT Correspondent
File photo of a man wearing a respiratory protection mask walks toward an office building during the smog after a red alert was issued for heavy air pollution in the Chinese capital, Beijing.
File photo of a man wearing a respiratory protection mask walks toward an office building during the smog after a red alert was issued for heavy air pollution in the Chinese capital, Beijing.(Reuters File Photo)

The Delhi government has ordered schools to remained closed till Sunday as air pollution worsens, with thick smog descending over the national capital.

Pollution readings in some places of Delhi have peaked at 500, the most severe level on the official air quality index that measures poisonous particles.

As Delhi and surrounding areas tackle hazardous air pollution levels, we take a look at how China dealt with alarming air quality:

China introduced a four-tier warning system for severe weather including smog in 2013 with red being the most serious, followed by orange, yellow and blue.

A red alert is issued under two different circumstances – if a city’s Air Quality Index (AQI) reaches 500 and if there are four consecutive days of heavy air pollution with AQI over 200. Two days of severe air pollution (AQI over 300), can also call for a red alert, according to Xinhua.

During a “red alert”, even-odd road rationing formula is to be implemented. Government increases the frequency of modes of public transport likes buses and subway trains.

In the case of an alert, schools and factories are to be suspended or closed based on more detailed and flexible standards.

Despite the measures, authorities often have to depend on favourable weather conditions for the smog to disperse. In winter, for example, a cold front is often awaited for the pollution to clear.

Beijing has also unveiled a “smog police” to carry out checks and implement anti-pollution rules. The environment police squad has been empowered to detain suspects in serious environment-related cases.

Beijing experienced near record-high smog in January and February this year, which the government blamed on “unfavourable weather conditions”. The Chinese capital is suspending construction of major public projects this winter in an effort to improve air quality.

All construction of road and water projects, as well as demolition of housing, will be banned from November 15 to March 15 within the city’s six major districts and surrounding suburbs, Reuters quoted a Xinhua report as saying.

The period spans the four months when heating is supplied to the city’s housing and other buildings.

China is in the fourth year of a “war on pollution” designed to reverse the damage done by decades of untrammelled economic growth and allay concerns that hazardous smog and widespread water and soil contamination are causing hundreds of thousands of early deaths every year.

With inputs from Reuters