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Monday, April 3, 2017, 21:25

China intensifies pollution checks as smog blankets areas near Beijing

By Xinhua

China intensifies pollution checks as smog blankets areas near Beijing
A woman wearing a protective pollution mask walks on a street in Beijing on March 20, 2017. (Nicolas Asfouri / AFP)

BEIJING – China's environmental inspectors intensified pollution checks around Beijing as a new round of smog hit the region.

The new round of air pollution will continue in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region between April 3 and 7.

A new round of air pollution will continue in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region between April 3 and 7

In the wake of the pollution, Beijing upgraded its alert for air pollution to orange, the second highest in the country's four-tier warning system, Monday afternoon.

Earlier, the cities of Tianjin, Tangshan, Langfang, Puyang and Anyang issued orange alerts.

Under the orange alert, outdoor paint and construction is suspended; trucks carrying garbage, sand and soil are taken off roads; and outdoor activities in kindergartens, middle schools and primary schools are stopped.

To ensure policies on fighting air pollution, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said on its website that seven teams have been sent to Beijing, Tianjin as well as the cities of Shijiazhuang, Tangshan, Baoding, Xingtai and Anyang in neighboring Hebei and Henan provinces.

READ MORE: Beijing to install air filtration devices in schools

Inspectors found several companies in Tianjin and Baoding had failed to meet requirements for cutting pollutants. They also found that some vehicles in Beijing failed to meet emission requirements.

The ministry urged local authorities to address the problem.

ALSO READ: Smog puts China's pollution battle on red alert

China is under growing pressure to address air pollution as smog frequently smothers the country's cities.

China intensifies pollution checks as smog blankets areas near Beijing
A man takes photos of buildings on a polluted day in Beijing on Jan 1, 2017. (Greg Baker/AFP)

China is under growing pressure to address air pollution as smog frequently smothers the country's cities .

The government aims to cut the density of inhalable particulates in major cities by at least 10 percent by 2017.

BEIJING ISSUES ORANGE ALERT

Beijing had issued yellow alert early Monday morning. The authorities changed it later in the afternoon as the density of hazardous fine particle matter PM2.5 continued to grow.

"The wind is not strong enough and the air quality is likely to get worse," said the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau.

READ MORE: Pollution inspectors find firms falsifying data

The Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center forecasts that PM2.5 readings will be between 200 and 220 micrograms per cubic meter Tuesday.

Beijing has a four-tier color alert system for pollution, with red being the highest, followed by orange, yellow and blue.

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