19:47 GMT28 May 2020
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    Beijing authorities issued a red alert, the highest level of smog warning system, over severe air pollution in the city, local environmental authorities said as cited by local media Thursday.

    BEIJING (Sputnik) — The alert will come into effect on Friday and is expected to be lifted on December 21, China Internet Information Center website reported.

    During the emergency period, construction sites and certain factories will be shut down, while high polluting vehicles will be banned from driving. Schools are advised to suspend classes.

    China introduced a four-tier air pollution warning system in 2013. According to the regulations, a red alert can be issued when heavy smog lasts for more than three days, an orange alert for three days of smog, a yellow for two, and a blue for one.

    ​China's extended use of coal for power generation has caused Beijing, as well as other Chinese cities, to suffer from suspended particular matter. PM2.5 pollution can cause asthma, bronchitis and exacerbate other acute respiratory diseases leading to premature death.

    China has undertaken significant efforts to reduce pollution in the capital city since the 2008 Beijing Olympics, shutting polluting enterprises and striving to reduce coal consumption. Beijing authorities planned to spend the equivalent of $2.5 billion in 2016 to cut PM2.5 pollution by 5 percent.

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