Beijing air quality may improve on Saturday: experts

Updated: 2015-12-25 21:35


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BEIJING - Air quality in Beijing and surrounding regions may improve to the level of "good" or "slight pollution," from "severe pollution," from Saturday afternoon as a cold front will disperse the smog, experts predicted on Friday.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection called an expert meeting on Friday to discuss the response to the smog pollution that worsened in 70 northern and central Chinese cities, including Beijing and the Shandong provincial city of Jinan.

The experts said unfavorable weather condition and pollutant emission had led to rapid degradation of air quality in Beijing since Thursday.

The general air quality index readings in Beijing reached 500 by Friday noon. PM2.5 stood at an average of 180 micrograms per cubic meter as of 2:30 p.m., but hit 360 in the southwest part of the city, data from Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center showed.

Beijing and eight other cities including Jinan and Dongying in Shandong Province reported the highest level of pollution, and another 16 cities experienced "heavy" pollution, according to the environment ministry.

More than 220 flights in Beijing's Capital International Airport were canceled on Friday due to poor visibility caused by smoggy weather, according to the airport.

Experts predict relief from Saturday noon as a cold front disperses the smog. On Sunday, the air quality will be good or indicate only light pollution in Beijing, and pollution should also drop in most cities of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei urban area, but heavy pollution could linger in some parts.

Roughly 50 cities in northern and eastern China have issued air pollution alerts in the most recent bout of smog. Beijing was on red alert from Dec. 19 to 22, the second in December, limiting vehicles on roads and banning fireworks and outdoor barbecue.

China has a four-tier warning system, with red as the most severe, followed by orange, yellow and blue.