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Saturday, December 17, 2016, 16:55

China combats heavy smog with red alerts

By Xinhua

China combats heavy smog with red alerts

The upper sky remains clear, while heavy pollution hangs low over Beijing buildings on Dec 16, 2016. (Photo / IC)

BEIJING – The sky was gray across much of north China on Saturday as at least 24 cities, including Beijing and Tianjin , have activated red alerts to address the pollution.

The measures included car restrictions on roads, suspension of construction and classes for kindergartens and primary schools as well as reduced emissions for factories.

At least 24 cities, including Beijing and Tianjin, have activated red alerts to address the pollution

Beijing activated its first red alert for smog this winter as the air began to turn hazy on Friday, ending several days of blue sky.

Kindergartens and primary schools have been ordered to suspend classes from Monday to Wednesday in Beijing due to the persistent heavy smog. All road construction and maintenance sites have been ordered to stop work.

At 1 pm on Saturday, the PM2.5 density exceeded 200 in the downtown areas of the capital, indicating the air is heavily polluted, according to the Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center.

READ MORE: Smog may be classified a 'disaster'

Beijing's environmental and housing authorities have strengthened inspection of vehicles, construction sites and factories, punishing those that fail to meet the requirements under the red alert.

China combats heavy smog with red alerts
Tourists wearing masks take photos at Jingshan Park in Beijing on Dec 16, 2016 . (Photo / IC)
The air quality index (AQI) readings at some sites in Tianjin, a northern port city neighboring Beijing, exceeded 300 on Saturday morning, indicating serious air pollution.

READ MORE: China faces tough battle against smog

Tianjin dispatched government inspection teams to check whether response measures have been implemented by companies, construction sites and drivers.

The smog is forecast to be dispersed on Wednesday night by cold air.

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