China chocked by pollution, dense fog

Last Updated: Sunday, January 13, 2013 - 15:20

Beijing: China`s pollution woes continued as it battled both air and water pollution across the country, while dense fog swathed much of eastern and central regions.

For the second day today, air pollution in the capital remained dangerously high with warnings by the Met officials asking people to stay indoors as very thick smog has been categorised as "hazardous".

Those people who had to go out have been asked to wear masks as a preventive step.

The municipal environmental warning centre last night issued a warning after readings of PM 2.5 - airborne particles with a diameter of 2.5 microns or less that can deeply penetrate the lungs - reached high levels in the evening.

The heavy pollution is expected to last next two days, as weather conditions are preventing the pollutants from dispersing, the warning said, advising the public to stay indoors and to avoid strenuous exercise.

Real-time monitoring data on the centre`s website showed that all monitoring stations in the city`s downtown area, as well as its eastern and southern suburbs, reported high pollutant readings, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Meanwhile, east and central China were enveloped in fog resulting in highway closures and flight delays in several provinces.

In Shandong province, more than 20 highways were closed, as the fog reduced visibility in some areas to less than 50 meters, the provincial meteorological centre said.

Over 30,000 residents in the suburbs of Shanghai city were out in the streets to collect potable water as the river there has been found polluted with heavy chemicals discharged.

Fire fighting departments were pressed into service to deliver fresh water for residents living in the lower reaches of the contaminated river in Jinshan and Songjiang districts of the city, state-run China Daily reported.

Police said they had detained 10 suspects from a local logistics company linked to the illegal discharge of pollutants containing styrene, a chemical hazardous to the intestines, kidneys, and respiratory system if ingested from a tanker into the river in Jinshan.

The incident, coming shortly after the major chemical contamination of a river in North China`s Shanxi province, has highlighted the country`s toughening battle to ensure residents have access to safe drinking water.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, January 13, 2013 - 15:20

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