Beijing, January 24
China’s capital Beijing has issued a yellow alert for heavy air pollution which took effect from Sunday, prompting officials to take a series of steps to contain the smog.
A series of measures will be taken from Sunday, including the suspension of a number of outdoor construction operations, and halting or restricting production by manufacturing companies, the municipal air pollution emergency response office said.
The capital’s air quality is expected to gradually improve on Tuesday, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Under China’s four-tier warning system for air pollution, red is the most severe followed by orange, yellow and blue.
The Chinese capital, which for over a decade has acquired notoriety for heavy pollution especially in winter, has reported a considerable improvement in the last few years.
Beijing reported a 53-per cent decrease in PM 2.5 density in the past five years, achieving the goal set for the city’s 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020), according to local authorities.
The city’s PM 2.5 density was reduced by over a half in 2020 compared to that of 2015, giving the capital city the lowest density and sharpest decline in PM 2.5 within the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and the nearby areas, data released by the Beijing Municipal People’s Congress said on Saturday.
The average concentration of PM 2.5 in the metropolis was 38 micrograms per cubic meter in 2020, a year-on-year decline of 9.5 per cent and the lowest measurement since the data was first collected in 2013.
The improved air quality marked a step closer to meeting the level-2 national standard for PM 2.5 control, which is 35 micrograms per cubic meter, it said.
The PM 2.5 reading is a gauge monitoring airborne particles of 2.5 microns or fewer in diameter, which can penetrate deep into people’s lungs.
Beijing also lowered its carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by over 23 per cent during the same period.
It plans to plant 10,000 hectares of trees in 2021 in a bid to raise the municipality’s forest coverage to about 45 per cent in the next five years. — PTI