Beijing issues second red alert ahead of smog

Unhealthy smog hovered over downtown Beijing as limits on cars, factories and construction sites kept pollution from spiking even higher during the city's first red alert for smog. (Ng Han Guan, AP)
Unhealthy smog hovered over downtown Beijing as limits on cars, factories and construction sites kept pollution from spiking even higher during the city's first red alert for smog. (Ng Han Guan, AP)

Beijing - Beijing issued its second-ever red alert for smog on Friday ahead of severe pollution forecast to hit China's capital, weeks after putting its emergency response plan into action for the first time.

The notice from the capital's environmental bureau orders factories to close and pulls half of all private cars off the streets, among other measures, as bad air floods into the city for the third time this month.

The red alert, the highest tier of a four-colour warning system, will last from Saturday to Tuesday, according to the notice on the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau's website.

It will be the second time the highest level alert has been issued since the city established a pollution warning system in 2013.

Beijing issued its first red alert on 7 December, declaring emergency pollution measures following scathing public criticism of the city's weak response to December's first round of smog, when pollution skyrocketed to some of the worst levels this year.

Counts of PM2.5 - harmful microscopic particles that penetrate deep into the lungs - regularly exceeded 300 micrograms per cubic metre during last week's red alert, according to the US embassy, which issues independent readings.

The World Health Organization's recommended maximum exposure is 25 over a 24-hour period.

Beijing lifted the alert on 10 December, after winds from the north dispersed the bad air, leaving skies clear and blue.

Other cities in the region will also raise their alert level to red, the national environmental bureau said in a separate statement, adding it had urged regional governments to "implement heavy air pollution emergency response measures".

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Is social media doing more harm than good?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, our children are exposed and we can't protect them
49% - 4985 votes
Yes, but social media is part of the new reality
46% - 4598 votes
No, it's great for growing a child's world view
5% - 522 votes
Vote
USD/ZAR
14.05
-0.1%
GBP/ZAR
19.84
+0.8%
EUR/ZAR
17.05
-0.3%
AUD/ZAR
11.01
-0.4%
JPY/ZAR
0.13
-0.3%
Gold
1,836.17
+0.3%
Silver
27.31
-0.5%
Palladium
2,958.47
+1.0%
Platinum
1,250.27
-0.5%
Brent Crude
68.28
+0.3%
Top 40
62,389
-0.3%
All Share
68,377
-0.2%
Resource 10
72,112
+0.9%
Industrial 25
85,665
-1.4%
Financial 15
12,740
+0.2%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo