The government has shut schools, restricted road traffic and urged people to stay indoors as 24 cities across northeast China were put on “red alert” for extreme smog on Tuesday.

China's most severe bout of air pollution this year has hit 460m people, who are exposed to smog levels six times higher than the World Health Organization’s daily guidelines, according to calculations by Greenpeace. The smog has lasted over three days in many areas.

“The link between smog and industry is clear. Since the second quarter of this year, when steel prices and output started growing, we saw air quality decline in the northeast,” said Lauri Myllyvirta, an air pollution specialist at Greenpeace in Beijing. “It’s a result of the government’s old-fashioned stimulus that boosted the industrial sectors.”

China’s smog is worst in the winter, when households consume more electricity from coal-fired power plants, and municipal heating is turned on.

In response to the emergency, the Ministry of Environmental Protection sent out three inspection teams, and publicly singled out chemical manufacturing companies that had failed to shut down their operations under the red-alert regulations, as well as power plants and coal-burning plants that had not met environmental standards.

Last edited by ocean2333 (2016-12-25 21:36:15)