The Ministry of Environmental Protection has pushed for Chinese cities to close schools, cut working hours, and halt outdoor activities during “heavy pollution.” Apparently it took an 8-year-old girl with lung cancer to make officials finally open their PM2.5-reddened eyes – though knowing their track record we half-expected them to blame her condition on chain-smoking:
The circular was issued by the Ministry of Environmental Protection as China has been under growing pressure to curb air pollution, with heavy smog frequently smothering large cities.
It also urged every possible compulsory measure to reduce emissions when the highest warning of air pollution is issued. The measures include suspension or limiting of enterprises’ production, restriction of vehicles on the road, dust controls and a ban on outdoor barbecue.
Large-scale outdoor activities should be stopped. Middle and primary schools as well as kindergartens should suspend classes. Enterprises and institutions should adopt flexible working hours, according to the circular sent to local environmental protection departments.
…….A pilot air quality warning system in the cities of Beijing, Tianjin and surrounding areas has been used since Nov. 1. When the air quality index is set to go beyond 500, a level one warning, the highest, will be issued. A level two warning will be triggered when the index is expected to read between 300 and 500 for three days in a row, and a level three warning for readings of 200-300.
In Beijing, cars with odd and even license plates will be allowed on roads on alternating days and schools will close when a level one alert is issued, according to the city’s emergency response program.
So basically, no school for the rest of the year, right?