Beijing issues red alert for severely high air pollution

Christian Shepherd, Reuters

Posted at Dec 15 2016 03:33 PM

Cars are seen on a street amid heavy smog in Shanghai, China December 8, 2016. REUTERS/Aly Song

BEIJING - Beijing city government has issued a red alert for severely high levels of air pollution in the city for three days from Dec. 17 to 21, according to a post on the Beijing environmental protection bureau's official Weibo account on Thursday.

The incoming smog was due to an accumulation of air pollution in Beijing and surrounding areas, including Tianjin city and Hebei, Shandong and Hunan provinces, the post said, citing forecasts from the China Environmental Monitoring Center.

A color-graded warning system of alerts was introduced in China's capital city last year as part of the government vow to crackdown on environmental degradation following decades of unbridled economic growth.

Beijing's first ever red alert was issued in December last year, temporarily closing schools and halting construction in the city.

The government has since been tweaking the system, raising in February the threshold of issuance to a higher average daily air quality index reading.