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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Beijing smog leaves flights in disarray

By Liu Linlin (Global Times)

08:32, December 06, 2011

Beijing has been shrouded by dense fog since Sunday when the municipal observatory issued a code yellow fog alert saying visibility could drop to as low as 500 meters in some parts of the city. Photo: CFP

Hundreds of flights were stranded at the Beijing Capital International Airport on Monday as the city was besieged by thick smog, which prompted residents to buy respirator masks and deepened concerns over air pollution.

As of 2 pm, 126 flights had been delayed by an hour or longer and 207 were cancelled at the airport. Several highways were temporarily closed as visibility dropped to as low as 500 meters in some parts of the city.

Health experts told the Worker's Daily that in such weather, people should stay inside to avoid inhaling micro-particles in the air, and those who go outside need to wear respirator masks.

Panfeng Household Specials, a store on tmall.com, China's largest B2C marketplace, sold more than 300 respirator masks on Monday specializing in preventing PM2.5 particles at a price of 18 yuan ($2.80) each.

The store told the Global Times that its largest deal on Monday saw 100 of the respirator masks sold to a buyer from Beijing's Chaoyang district.

Another store said it sold more than 120 masks to Beijing customers on Monday, compared to its average number of one per day.

The Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau (MEPB) rated on Monday's air pollution as "moderate."

Zhang Mingying, a meteorological engineer at the Beijing Meteorological Bureau, said that according to their records, smog occurred on average six times a year in the past three decades.

"The current smog is the seventh this year, so we cannot say it is not normal," Zhang told the Global Times.

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