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Heavy smog engulfs more than 30 cities around China

(People's Daily Online)    15:27, November 07, 2016

Air pollution in Harbin

Heavy smog has lately shrouded over 30 cities in China, affecting a total of six provinces. Coal- and straw-burning remain the main causes of the air pollution, while the failure of local governments to institute emergency measures has further deteriorated the situation.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) arranged an emergency meeting on Nov. 6 to tackle the recent air pollution. According to Air Quality Index statistics, air quality readings in 10 cities in northern China reached 500 from Nov. 2 to 6. The city of Harbin saw an average PM2.5 concentration of 704 micrograms per cubic meter on Nov. 4. PM2.5 refers to airborne particles smaller in diameter than 2.5 microns, which are especially harmful to lungs. The latest bout of pollution covered a range of over 1,600 kilometers, plaguing more than 30 cities in mainly Heilongjiang province and northern China.

“The main reason for the heavy air pollution is excessive discharge of pollutants," explained Chai Fahe, a research fellow with China Research Academy of Environmental Sciences. "The unfavorable meteorological conditions have made things even worse.” Chai also pointed out that such large-scale, heavy air pollution has been observed in northern China for four years in a row.

The MEP has dispatched inspection teams to the northern provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning for emergency inspections. The weak responses of local governments, coupled with inadequate countermeasures, have led to a major deterioration of air quality.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Kou Jie, Bianji)

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