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December 7, 2011

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Home » Metro » Public Services

Shanghai relief but Beijing still has a problem

Heavy fog was still affecting flights to north China yesterday and weather conditions in Beijing deteriorated with the arrival of snow in the capital.

Beijing Capital International Airport cancelled all departing flights by domestic carriers yesterday. With visibility less than 400 meters, the flights affected were run by Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, and Hainan Airlines.

Other services suffered delays of over an hour.

Airports in the north and east, such as in Jinan, capital of Shandong Province, also reported large-scale cancellations.

Airport authorities said visibility at Jinan was not sufficient to allow take-offs or landings until late yesterday afternoon. Of a total 210 flights to and from the airport, 188 were cancelled.

Flights from Shanghai to Beijing, meanwhile, saw an improvement with most services experiencing just short delays. Only four flights to the capital had been cancelled by 6pm yesterday.

However, weather conditions are expected to worsen over the next few days with snow and rain in many parts of the country.

Airline officials in Beijing were advising passengers to alter their schedules or take other means of transport while the fog continued.

The foggy weather and decreasing air quality that has affected parts of China since Sunday has prompted a surge in mask sales and affected vegetable supplies, Xinhua news agency reported.

Residents in many major cities were facing rising vegetable prices after the smog closed expressways to Shouguang in Shandong, the country's largest vegetable production base, the news agency said.

Visibility was reduced to less than 1,000 meters in north, central and east China, and less than 200 meters in some areas, the National Meteorological Center said.

The delays and difficulties in transporting vegetables shortens the preservation period, which in turn contributes to higher prices, according to Xinhua.

Meanwhile, air quality in the capital, made worse by the fog which arrived on Sunday, has improved.

The city reported light air pollution yesterday and that should get even better after the fog clears, according to the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau.

However, pollution emissions had earlier reached critical levels and residents had been advised to stay at home and limit outdoor activities, the bureau said. Doctors said there had been a rise in the number of children and elderly people attending the city's hospitals with illnesses related to bad weather and pollution.

According to statistics from Taobao Mall, China's largest online marketplace, more than 30,000 masks were sold on Sunday, more than 20,000 of which were bought by customers in Beijing, Xinhua reported.

In an effort to combat the smog and aid traffic, Beijing has increased lighting on roads. Authorities with the Beijing Electric Power Corporation said they will initiate an emergency response lighting plan based on visibility.

The fog, already affecting southern areas of the Yangtze River, is expected in Shanghai but will gradually lift after today.

The city's environmental authorities said yesterday the pollutants index was "good."


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