03:07 GMT +317 October 2019
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    Tourists wearing face masks visit the Tiananmen Square in heavy smog in Beijing, China

    China Issues 'Orange' Level Smog Warning as Beijing Shrouds in Heavy Fog

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    China's National Meteorological Center on Sunday issued a second-level orange smog warning for the country's capital.

    BEIJING (Sputnik) — China has a four-tier smog warning system introduced in 2013. The highest red level warning is issued in case heavy smog conditions last for over three days, while orange is issued during three-day pollution spells.

    "This morning, in portions of southeast Beijing, northern Tianjin, central and southern Hebei, Sichuan Basin, western and southeastern Chongqing, and northeastern Guizhou, heavy fog with local visibility down to less than 200 meters is predicted. What’s more, the visibility in some parts of these areas can even fall to less than 50 meters," the center said in a statement.

    The previous orange warning was issued just days ago for December 2-4.

    PM2.5 pollution, which consists of suspended particles 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter, is at 252 micrograms per cubic meter compared to the recommended safe level of below 25 micrograms. The situation is expected to improve on Monday.

    Beijing authorities asked residents to wear masks when outside, as well as take additional calcium, vitamin D, fish and water. People with respiratory and heart problems are advised to stay indoors. The orange-level warning also means that schoolchildren must stay inside during classes, construction work is halted and cargo transportation is suspended.

    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 over recent years, shutting polluting enterprises and striving to reduce coal consumption. In January, Beijing authorities planned to spend the equivalent of $2.5 billion this year to cut PM2.5 pollution by 5 percent.

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    air pollution, smog, Tianjin, Beijing, China
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