China Environment Vs Economy (In this Thursday, March 7, 2013 Chinese traffic policemen closed off a road for delegation buses attending the annual Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference h
  • China Environment Vs Economy (In this Thursday, March 7, 2013 Chinese traffic policemen closed off a road for delegation buses attending the annual Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference h
  • In this Thursday, March 7, 2013 Chinese traffic policemen closed off a road for delegation buses attending the annual Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference held in Beijing, China. Facing public outrage over smog-choked cities and filthy rivers, China's leaders are promising to clean up its neglected environment, a pledge that sets up a clash with political pressures to keep economic growth strong. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
  • Image Credit: Associated Press
  • China Environment Vs Economy (In this Friday, March 8, 2013 Chinese paramilitary policemen march across Tiananmen Square on a hazy day in Beijing, China. Facing public outrage over smog-choked cities
  • In this Friday, March 8, 2013 Chinese paramilitary policemen march across Tiananmen Square on a hazy day in Beijing, China. Facing public outrage over smog-choked cities and filthy rivers, China's leaders are promising to clean up its neglected environment, a pledge that sets up a clash with political pressures to keep economic growth strong. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
  • Image Credit: Associated Press
  • China Traffic (Heavy traffic along a major thoroughfare in Beijing, China, Tuesday, Feb 17, 2009. Beijing's crowded and polluted streets have seen a sharp increase of nearly 66,000 vehicles this year,
  • Heavy traffic along a major thoroughfare in Beijing, China, Tuesday, Feb 17, 2009. Beijing's crowded and polluted streets have seen a sharp increase of nearly 66,000 vehicles this year, a 13 percent increase from the previous year, state media reported Tuesday. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
  • Image Credit: Associated Press
  • Japan China Smog (FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013 file photo, a man wears a mask on Tiananmen Square in thick haze in Beijing. Japan's Foreign Ministry says it is seeking to cooperate and exchan
  • FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013 file photo, a man wears a mask on Tiananmen Square in thick haze in Beijing. Japan's Foreign Ministry says it is seeking to cooperate and exchange information with China on the recent bout of severe smog in many Chinese cities. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
  • Image Credit: Associated Press
  • China Olympia (** FILE ** Chinese cycle through smog and pollution over Beijing's Tiananmen Square Thursday , May 1, 2008. Beijing's Olympic shutdown begins Sunday, July 20, 2008, a drastic plan to li
  • ** FILE ** Chinese cycle through smog and pollution over Beijing's Tiananmen Square Thursday , May 1, 2008. Beijing's Olympic shutdown begins Sunday, July 20, 2008, a drastic plan to lift the Chinese capital's gray shroud of pollution just three weeks ahead of the games.(AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
  • Image Credit: Associated Press
  • APTOPIX China Car Ban (Cars drive during peak hour traffic on a major highway on the first day of a test to reduce car numbers in Beijing, China, Friday, Aug. 17, 2007. City officials yanked hundreds
  • Cars drive during peak hour traffic on a major highway on the first day of a test to reduce car numbers in Beijing, China, Friday, Aug. 17, 2007. City officials yanked hundreds of thousands of private cars off Beijing's streets Friday to test whether a partial car ban could clear health-threatening smog and ease gridlock during next year's Olympic Games. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
  • Image Credit: Associated Press
  • CHINA SMOG CRACKDOWN (** FILE ** Visitors walk through haze hanging over Beijing's Tiananmen Square in this Oct. 10, 2004 file photo. Shougang, a major Chinese steelmaker, has been told to cut output
  • ** FILE ** Visitors walk through haze hanging over Beijing's Tiananmen Square in this Oct. 10, 2004 file photo. Shougang, a major Chinese steelmaker, has been told to cut output in an emergency anti-smog measure after Beijing, host of the 2008 Olympics, failed to meet pollution-control targets that are forcing scores of factories to leave the city, news reports said Thursday Nov.4, 2004. (AP Photo/Greg Baker, File)
  • Image Credit: Associated Press
  • China (FILE - In this Monday, Jan. 10, 2011, file photo, vehicles are stuck in a traffic jam during weekday rush hour in Beijing. China, which overtook the U.S. late last year as the world's largest o
  • FILE - In this Monday, Jan. 10, 2011, file photo, vehicles are stuck in a traffic jam during weekday rush hour in Beijing. China, which overtook the U.S. late last year as the world's largest oil importer, has the single biggest influence on global demand for fuels. China's consumption has risen 28 percent in five years, to 10.2 million barrels per day last year. (AP Photo/Larry Downing, Pool, File)
  • Image Credit: Associated Press
The Chinese government is desperately trying a variety of methods to reduce its capital city's heavy layers of air pollution. Pollution taxes, urging residents to stay indoors, government support for EVs and limited license plate registrations have all been used. This month, things have gotten serious. Bloomberg reports that highways and airports in Beijing were closed down for a week to reduce heavy pollution. Police closed off the six expressways that link Beijing to Shanghai, Tianjin and Harbin. Forty seven flights at the Beijing Capital International Airport were affected by the closures. The roads and airports were reopened on October 7.

Air quality index readings at half of Beijing's urban areas had fallen below 200 on October 7; that's the index level dividing medium and heavy pollution. A yellow alert had been lifted that morning, which meant that visibility was expected to improve. Light rain was expected to fall that night, which should help air pollutants dissipate more easily. It's not just a health issue, as air pollution has been causing social unrest in China. Premier Li Keqiang has committed to reducing smog by cutting coal consumption, shutting down steel plants and placing limits on the number of cars on the road.

China plans to build a nationwide network within the next three to five years to study the impact of smog on the health of vulnerable groups and will study related diseases, according to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Forty three monitoring spots will be established in 16 provinces and municipalities that are frequently buried in smog.


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