First red alert on pollution declared in Beijing
The Chinese government has issued its first red alert on pollution (smog) it its Capital Beijing due to hazardous air quality caused by severe air pollution.
The warning was an upgrade from the previous second highest orange alert. The red alert is the most serious (highest) warning on a four-tier system of emergency air-pollution response system was adopted in 2013.
Under the alert
- Government has advised schools to be voluntarily close unless they had good air filtration systems.
- Half of private cars in the capital city would be also ordered off the road during the period with an odd-even number plate system in force.
- The other extra measures to be enforced include halting outdoor construction, banning fireworks and outdoor cooking.
China, the world’s biggest carbon emitter in recent times is grappling with the serious chronic problem of the air pollution leading to smog in cities. Most of the pollution is caused by the coal-fired power plants along with vehicle emissions, heating systems and construction and factory work.
Particulate matter (PM) 2.5
Readings of Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5 particles in Beijing also has climbed 300 micrograms per cubic meter which is far more than World Health Organization (WHO) permissible limit of 25 per cubic meter.
PM2.5 are fine particles less than 2.5 microns in diameter that may occur naturally or from anthropogenic activities like human industrial processes. They often reach the lungs causing lifelong respiratory disease and may be fatal if it mixes into the bloodstream.