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January 26, 2013

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Home » Metro » Environment

Factory emissions cut to lower air pollution

SHANGHAI'S chemical factories and power plants took emergency measures yesterday to reduce the heavy air pollution that has covered the city this week.

Forecasters said yesterday that the air pollution haze likely will linger for another four to five days.

At 8am yesterday, the city launched an emergency plan that had been designed for the World Expo 2010, under which coal-burning power plants were asked to use high quality coal while petrochemical industries were asked to limit their production, according to the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau.

Affected factories included at least 12 power plants, as well as about 10 factories including Baosteel, Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Co, Sinopec Shanghai Gaoqiao Co, Huayi Group, Shanghai Chemical Industrial Park, Shanghai Fine Chemical Industrial Park and smaller factories, in Baoshan and Jinshan districts as well as the Pudong New Area.

The authority is considering adjusting the regulations to cut more factories' emissions like Beijing has been doing.

Forecasters said winds will not be strong enough to blow the pollutants away for several days.

Rain is expected to clean the city's skies later next week.

The city's air quality index or AQI, was 251, or at the "heavily polluted" level, second-highest in a six-level scale, for a second consecutive day yesterday, according to the Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center.

The city's PM2.5 figure - indicating tiny airborne particles 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter - was the major pollutant and has remained high since Wednesday night.

The figure reached 143.8 micrograms per cubic meter at midnight and was 172 averagely during the past 24 hours by midnight yesterday, while the national standard is 75.

The haze was caused by pollutants brought by a cold front from the north as well as airborne particles from vehicle and industry emissions, according to the center.

Due to temperature variations, dense fog appeared in the city's suburban Qingpu District and lowered the visibility to 200 meters yesterday morning, officials said. But the fog did not affect other areas, and the visibility for most of the city remained around 3,000 meters.

Shanghai should be sunny to partly cloudy during the weekend.

The city is expected to warm up a little during the day this weekend, with the high climbing to 12 degrees Celsius today and 8 degrees tomorrow. The minimum should be stable, at 2 degrees Celsius today and tomorrow.

The low on Monday is forecast to be 0 degrees Celsius and the high 9 degrees, and temperatures are expected to climb starting on Tuesday.


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