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December 21, 2013

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Home » Metro » Environment

Poor wind blamed for return of heavy smog

AFTER a brief respite, thick smog clouded the air in Shanghai yesterday, blurring the city’s skyline with pollution monitoring authorities labeling it “heavily polluted” and “dangerous” for the elderly and kids.

The Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center said local emission and particles brought from the north were the two main factors for the high concentration of air pollutants.

The worsening air quality triggered a “heavy pollution” warning by the center at 1pm, followed by a “yellow” haze alert issued by the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau at 1:43pm.

From 10am, the official air quality index (AQI) remained above 200 with an upward trend. The center said the AQI will range between 230 to 270 today with a rising pollutant concentration.

Density of tiny, harmful PM2.5 particles peaked at 240 micrograms per cubic meter at 3pm — triple the nation’s 75-microgram limit and 9.6 times higher than the World Health Organization’s guideline of 25.

Local environmental protection bureau warned the elderly, children and those with respiratory diseases or weak immunity to remain indoors, while mitigation measures such as temporarily halting construction work, banning dump truck from the roads were issued.

Middle and primary schools halted outdoor activities.

Due to the stable atmosphere, which does not help in dispersing pollutants, the weather bureau said the smoggy days will last through the weekend.

“Weak winds and temperature inversion — an increase in temperature with height — contributed to the light smog which was later upgraded to moderate and caused low visibility yesterday,” said Kong Chunyan, a forecaster at the bureau. “Moderate haze is likely to occur on Saturday in the morning and drop to light haze in the afternoon.”

It was also the chilliest morning yesterday after winter began with a minus 1.3 degrees Celsius reading in Chongming Island, while temperatures in most districts hovered between 0 to 2 degrees Celsius.

A low of 1.3 degrees and a high of 5.3 degrees were recorded yesterday and will likely increase by 1 degree today.

The highs next week will bounce back to low teens with mostly cloudy skies.


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