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Shanghai to Shut Schools When Air Worsens

Shanghai Daily, October 21, 2013 Adjust font size:

Shanghai has its own emergency response system in place to deal with air pollution that would see school, factories and construction sites closed when the air turns toxic.

The Shanghai government announced the plan yesterday, a day after Beijing rolled out a similar program.

The city has a two-tier system in place since March to gauge the severity of air pollution.

Air Quality Index between 201 and 300 is the first level while AQI surpassing 300 is the second level, where pollution is considered serious.

When the air quality index reaches or is forecasted to reach the second level, the city government will enforce the emergency response program, according to Wu Qizhou, deputy director of the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau.

It would mean shutting down schools, factories and construction sites and limiting vehicular traffic on the roads.

Wu said the city’s air quality index has never reached the dangerous second level since the system was adopted in March.

Shanghai is aiming to lower the density of tiny PM2.5 pollutants by 20 percent by 2017, as part of its five-year goal for the improvement of air quality.

PM2.5 refers to air-borne particle matters smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, which are the main cause of urban smog and pollution and are harmful to human health.

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