Beijing govt criticized for ongoing smog

Updated: 2014-02-17 10:50


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Beijing govt criticized for ongoing smog

A pedestrian walks across an overpass on Beijing’s South Third Ring Road as fireworks light up the smoggy sky on Feb 14,2014, Lantern Festival. [WANG YUELING / FOR CHINA DAILY] 

BEIJING - Heavy smog in Beijing lasting for days has triggered public criticism over the municipal government's inaction.

At 8 p.m. Sunday, the air quality index (AQI) at monitoring stations in the city's downtown areas read between 342 and 414 and was rated at Level 6, the highest level, indicating hazardous pollution, according to the Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center's website.

The business channel of the China Central Television (CCTV) late on Saturday questioned why the government failed to initiate an emergency response under such smoggy weather.

"Beijing municipal government, don't pretend to be blind in the fog," the channel said via its account on the Twitter-like "The government should not shun its responsibility or turn a blind eye to the smog."

The channel tweeted twice on the matter in five minutes, and the post had been forwarded by netizens thousands of times as of Sunday morning.

Beijing is not the only region facing the suffocating air on Sunday. The National Meteorological Center issued a yellow alert at 6 a.m. Sunday, forecasting medium to serious haze in Beijing and nearby Tianjin Municipality and the provinces of Hebei, Shandong, Henan, Shanxi, and Shaanxi. It said smog would last until late Sunday, when a fresh wave of rain and snow would hit most of the country.

Questions over government inaction

The Beijing municipal government approved and put into effect an emergency response system last October. The system requires that traffic be cut with alternate driving days for even- and odd-numbered license plates and schools suspended if a red alert, the highest level for air pollution, is issued. Industrial plants will be closed or told to reduce production and fireworks will be banned if an orange alert, the second-highest alert, is issued.

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