Major cities in northern China continue to grapple with worsening smog that has forced authorities to shut down factories and disrupted air and ground traffic.
At least 23 cities issued red alerts on pollution that has hovered over much of the nation since Friday, according to USA Today, citing a Xinhua News Agency report.
Alerts are expected to remain in effect through Wednesday.
Hospitals, particularly in the port city of Tianjin, have seen a surge in asthma and other respiratory issues, People’s Daily reported.
The pollution forced the city to close highways and caused delays and cancellations for dozens of flights, Xinhua said.
In Beijing, the municipal government has ordered several factories to close and limited the number of cars on the road.
In Hebei province, authorities ordered coal and cement plants to shut down or reduce production.
Much of the pollution is blamed on the use of coal for electricity. Smog levels are often worse in the winter when cold weather spurs energy use.
Meanwhile, many flights have been canceled or delayed on Tuesday because of the low visibility resulting from fog and haze in several major cities including Beijing, Tianjin and Shijiazhuang, the capital of the worst-hit province of Hebei.
Airports in the cities of Jinan and Qingdao in eastern Shandong Province were also affected by the smog.
More flight cancellations and delays are expected as smog in the region is expected to continue until Wednesday night, when the air quality should improve, China Daily said.
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