Beijing has issued its first air pollution red alert this year, the highest of a four-tier warning system for severe weather, with the warning expected to last five days.
Local authorities upgraded the air pollution warning to red, effective from 8 p.m. on Dec. 16 until Dec. 21 when air quality is expected to improve, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports, citing the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau.
The bureau expects the worst smog from Monday night to Wednesday before high atmospheric pressure reaches the capital on Thursday and makes air quality better.
The red alert covers Beijing and several dozen neighboring cities including Tianjin and Shijiazhuang. The same warning was also issued for Taiyuan in Shanxi province and Zhengzhou in Henan province.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection on Saturday ordered nearly 1,200 factories around Beijing, including those owned by Sinopec, Shougang Group and China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corp., to stop or limit production.
The ministry said Sunday that cooperation by the factories helped reduce air pollution in about one-third of the affected cities.
Meanwhile, Beijing police have been trying to stop people from taking photos of smog and putting them online.
Several people were taken away by the police while they tried to capture the scenes of smog-stricken Beijing with cameras and share them on social media, thestandnews.com reports.
In addition, some netizens claimed in online posts that some hospitals in Beijing have allegedly ordered doctors not to diagnose patients with respiratory diseases as victims of smog under any circumstances.
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