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December 13, 2010

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Rain washed away city pollution, say officials

EVERY cloud does indeed appear to have a silver lining, for the rain that fell on Shanghai yesterday washed away airborne pollutants, according to the city's weather and environment authorities.

The city's Air Pollution Index of respirable particulate - a major reference of air quality, dropped to 73 yesterday - less than half the level of the previous day.

During yesterday's intermittent drizzle, air quality improved from "light polluted" to "good," reported the Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center.

The API of respirable particulate stood at 148 on Saturday, indicating the city to be lightly polluted, according to the center.

There have been four air-polluted days this month: On December 3 the figure reached 159; last Monday it was 108 and last Thursday it stood at 115.

"The air quality is related to many aspects, and rain is one of them," said an official with the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau.

The bureau said the rain would continue until Wednesday and that the weather should turn sunny and cloudy later this week.

Temperatures should drop gradually over the next few days and the low could reach freezing point overnight on Friday, said the bureau.

Meanwhile, air travelers to northeast China were yesterday stranded at Shanghai's two airports as their flights suffered delays due to heavy snow in the north.

By late yesterday afternoon, all seven flights to the northern Liaoning Province's Shenyang City were delayed. Half of the six flights to Jilin Province's Changchun City were also delayed. Flights to Beijing suffered short delays.

There are likely to be more flight delays over the next few days as the weather in the north is unlikely to get better anytime soon.

Airlines say they will add flights to clear backlogs once the snow eases.


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