The first day of the New Year 2017, was started in China with canceled flights and closed highways due to heavy smog that hit the north side of the country.
Hazardous smog waves have hit the same area of the country in mid-December, causing the closure of hundreds of factories and traffic restrictions to limit air pollution produced by cars.
In Beijing, a number of 126 flights were canceled at the main airport of the city, and all the buses from the airport to the neighboring cities were also suspended.
The average concentrations of small particles known as PM2.5 were higher with more than 500 micrograms per cubic meter in Beijing, and this is a 50 times higher value than the World Health Organization recommendations.
In Tianjin, a number of 300 flights were canceled due to poor visibility, even if the smog levels were less harmful.
The problem with the poor visibility in Tianjin affected even the traffic on the highways that are connecting the city with the neighboring cities.
The current round of pollution has issued red alerts in a number of 24 Chinese cities, and lead to the closure of several factories and numerous traffic restrictions, and issued orange alerts in 21 Chinese cities, including Beijing and Tianjin.
The “fight against pollution” was started in China in 2014, but due to the heavy consumption of coal, especially during the winter time (for energy and heating), the levels of air pollution (smog) caused by burning coal, are often reaching levels that are unbearable by the population.
Until the end of the winter, many other smog alerts will be issued in these Chinese cities, that will lead to more restrictions, and a high level of discomfort among the population.
The pollution caused by burning coal will reach new levels in the coming years because the country needs to power its industrial development with cheap and dirty energy, and because the investments made by the government in clean energy are not enough to replace the polluting cars, and the coal-fired power stations heavily used in the country.
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