North China continues to be shrouded by heavy smog for 5th day
The northern China continued to be blanketed by heavy smog for fifth consecutive day on Wednesday, especially in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, with experts saying that 70 percent of the pollutants in the region are emitted locally.
Thirty-four experts from scientific institutions, including the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences and Tsinghua University, attended a press conference organized by the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP), answering questions on air pollution, according to a press release sent to the Global Times by the MEP on Wednesday.
The experts said that the local emissions, which accounted for 70 percent of the pollutants, were the main source of the smog in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and 28 to 36 percent of the pollutants in Beijing came from other places - mainly from Shandong and Henan provinces.
Most places in North China are under the influence of two wind convergence zones, which transfer the pollutants back and forth and lead to the combined pollution, according to the release. It added that the pollutants that engulfed Beijing were first blown to the south and then moved back to Beijing.
The bad weather also contributed to the current round of smog, including higher humidity and weak cold front, which were unfavorable for dispersing pollution.
Cities in and around the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region could not fight the heavy smog alone and a joint emergency plan should be initiated when a large-scale air pollution is on the way.
The environmental authorities cautioned the affected places about air pollution on December 14, requiring local governments to reduce the impact of the smog and protect people's health.
A total of 27 cities across China activated a red alert and 18 issued orange warning, suspending operations of industrial enterprises and construction sites, and limiting the number of vehicles running on the roads.
All these measures helped decrease the amount of emissions, slow the accumulation of pollutants and delay the occurrence of the heavy smog, according to the release.
The authorities would further strengthen pollution control in the winter season, including limiting coal use by residents and enterprises, and managing small polluting enterprises, according to the release. The PM2.5 in the region increased by 50 percent in the heating season due to a large amount of emissions.
The heavy smog has also led to booming sales of face-masks and air purifiers recently.
Many sellers of face-masks on taobao.com advertised that they could arrange priority delivery to customers who lived in Beijing and Tianjin and other heavy-smog-plagued areas.
Because of the reduced transportation capacity, major delivery companies in the region have announced a delay in their services.
A customer service representative from an air purifier online shop told the Global Times that more customers have visited the shop but the products are in short supply.