This is not a drill. We repeat, this is a not drill.
While so far this winter, things haven’t been too smoggy, that may all be about to change as Beijing has issued its first red alert for air pollution of the year.
The red alert will be activated at 8 p.m. on December 16th (Friday!) and last until December 21st (next Wednesday) as a wave of thick smog is set to roll over the city, and then stay for a while, Xinhua reports.
We blame the Smog Free Tower.
Of course, Beijing won’t be the only place affected. Hebei, Tianjin, Shandong and Henan are also in for some heavy air pollution.
A “red alert” is China’s highest warning level for smog. It means that construction sites will be shut down, certain factories will be closed, and schools may suspend classes. Additionally, all heavy-polluting vehicles will be pulled off the road while other vehicles will be restricted based on an odd-or-even license plate rule.
Last year, Beijing suffered through two red alerts in December. But, learning their lesson, the city government then decided to raise air quality standards… for issuing red alerts. The new standards say that a red alert will only be raised if the AQI exceeds 500 for a 1-day period, 300 for 2 days, or 200 for 4 days.
Anybody up for a brisk morning jog on Saturday?
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