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Beijing Issues Second Red Alert Over Air Pollution

Beijing

Beijing has issued its second red alert for smog this month in an effort to protect its citizens against poisonous gases and pollutant particles.

The high levels of air pollution in the Chinese capital prompted schools to close and authorities to enforce vehicle restrictions on Friday.

Earlier in December the highest possible state of alert was declared in the city, which has over 21 million residents, for the first time ever.

Press TV reports:

A wave of smog is due to settle over the city of about 22.5 million people from Saturday to Tuesday. Levels of PM2.5, the smallest and deadliest airborne particles, are set to top 500, according to the official Beijing government website.

That is more than 20 times the level that is considered safe by the World Health Organization.

Half the city’s cars will be forced off the road on any given day, while barbecue grills and other outdoor smoke sources will be banned and factory production restricted.

Visibility in some parts of Beijing will fall to fewer than 500 meters (about 1,600 feet) on Tuesday, when the smog will be at its worst, the city government website said.

Smog red alerts are triggered when levels of PM2.5 above 300 are forecast to last for more than 72 hours.

Although the four-tier smog warning system was launched two years ago, Beijing had not issued a red alert until last week, drawing accusations that it was ignoring serious bouts of smog to avoid the economic costs.

Some residents have defied the odd-even license plate number traffic restrictions and complained about the need to stay home from work to accompany housebound children. Others have used the break from school to travel to locales where the air is better.