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China: Beijing: air pollution: red alert

No possible relief is in sight until the second half of next week for Beijing after authorities issued a red alert for extremely poor air quality.

The alert for severely high levels of air pollution is not expected to be lifted until Wednesday, according to Xinhua.

Through early next week, a persistent area of high pressure will sit over eastern China and keep pollutants trapped near the surface.

A red alert was also issued for 22 other cities, including Tianjin and Shijiazhuang.

Air quality levels will continue to reach “very unhealthy” to “hazardous” levels daily in Beijing, according to projections by World Air Quality Index, and pose serious health effects to residents.

When air quality is at such extreme levels, residents should avoid any outdoor exertion. The elderly, children and those with respiratory or heart issues should remain indoors.

Reduced visibility from the smog could lead to flight delays. Hazards would expand to motorists if the smog becomes thick enough and further lowers visibility.

Xinhua reports that all road construction and maintenance sites in Beijing have been forced to halt work. All kindergartens, primary schools and private training centers are suspending classes during the red alert.

Older vehicles known to cause excessive pollution have been banned from traveling on roads in Beijing. Drivers of newer cars will also face usage restrictions based on whether the final digit of their license plate is odd or even.