Go Green: China In Smog Alert Closes Factories
China has issued a national smog alert and to reduce pollution, over 700 companies in Beijing were required to temporarily close down while cement and coal plants in Hebei Province were ordered to shut down. The use of cars on certain roads was reduced while other cities resorted to the closure of schools and other emergency measures. Hospitals have already prepared their teams of medical practitioners with the expected increase in cases of illnesses related to pollution
The air pollution in China has been blamed on old car emissions as well as the country's reliance on coal plant. The Guardian said there were flight cancellations in some cities due to the worsening smog as planes could not land anymore. Children with breathing problems have also been taken to the hospitals.
"If you track back to the first day of this episode, you see that the smog [in Beijing] is moving slowly from the south to the urban area and then to the north," said Dong Liansai, a climate campaigner with Greenpeace in Beijing.
USA Today said smog red alerts have been issued by at least 23 cities since the smog problem got worse Friday. The meteorological authority in Beijing said that while there is a recurring increase in the levels of dangerous smog in Beijing, this is the worst haze to hit the city. The increase in air pollution gets worse during winter since there is an increase in energy use.
Authorities earlier defined smog as a natural phenomenon caused by unfavorable meteorological conditions, blizzards, and haze. However, Fudan Univeristy Professor Zhang Zitai said meteorological disasters are not caused by human activity unlike smog so including the latter in the list of meteorological disaster is against science.
ABC News said there was an effort to curb smog by reducing the country's carbon emission by switching to other energy producers like natural gas instead of coal plants and using more energy efficient cars but the smog level has not improved.