World

Red alert for smog 
issued in 23 Chinese cities

BEIJING: At least 23 cities in China have issued red alerts for air pollution since Friday, reported Xinhua news agency.

A host of emergency measures has been implemented to protect the public's health from the smog, which is smothering almost a ninth of the country.

Yesterday morning - the fourth day of the alert which is scheduled to end tomorrow - Beijing's air quality was better than feared, with PM2.5 levels hovering around 200, according to data maintained by the US embassy.

However, the figure remained eight times the World Health Organisation's daily recommended maximum exposure level to the microscopic particles that carry major health risks.

And the relatively low number was just a temporary reprieve, Beijing's meteorological authority said, adding that the worst haze was forecast to hit the city last night and linger until today.

In neighbouring city of Shijiazhuang, the capital of Hebei province, PM2.5 levels stood as high as 701 at noon, with levels of larger PM10 particles even higher.

FLIGHTS CANCELLED

In the port city of Tianjin, where readings for PM2.5 climbed over 400 early in the morning, more than 180 flights had been cancelled and around 60 delayed since the alert began, according to national broadcaster CCTV.

Highways in the city were also closed, it said. - AFP

ChinaHaze