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Beijing issues air pollution alert

Xinhua, October 19, 2016 Adjust font size:

Beijing environmental authorities issued a yellow alert for air pollution on Tuesday afternoon, as smog is forecast for the capital for two days.

The yellow alert, the third-highest warning level, came shortly after smog eased Sunday. It means the Air Quality Index will exceed 200 for 48 hours.

Disadvantageous climatic conditions will contribute to the upcoming haze, according to the local emergency office for severe air pollution.

Residents have been advised to take protective measures, such as keeping their windows and doors closed and reducing outdoor activities. In addition, construction sites and factories have also been ordered to reduce emissions, and regulation of burning of straw must be enhanced, according to the city's contingency plan for severe air pollution.

The weather is expected to improve starting from the morning of Oct. 20 thanks to the arrival of a cold front.

Zhang Dawei, head of the Beijing Environmental Protection Monitoring Center, said the city experienced fifth of every year featuring climatic conditions that fail to help dispel smog.

Despite persistent haze this month, official data indicted improved air quality in the first nine months of this year. During the period, the density of fine particulate matter PM2.5 in Beijing decreased by 10.1 percent year-on-year.

Since the central government rolled out an action plan on air pollution control in 2013, Beijing has seen the amount of burned coal reduced by 48 percent, the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau announced Tuesday.

Fang Li, deputy head of the bureau, said the watchdog has fined more than 60 million yuan (8.9 million U.S. dollars) in over 10,000 law-breaking cases this year.