People, Environment

Beijing's Pollution Shuts Down 700 Factories

Beijing's Pollution Shuts Down 700 FactoriesBeijing's Pollution Shuts Down 700 Factories

Engulfed in choking smog, some northern Chinese cities limited the number of cars on roads and temporarily shut down factories on Monday to cut down pollution during a national "red alert".

More than 700 companies stopped production in Beijing and traffic police were restricting drivers by monitoring their license plate numbers, state media reported.

Dozens of cities closed schools and took other emergency measures after a "red alert" was issued from Friday night to Wednesday for much of northern China.

Beijing and 22 other Chinese cities imposed emergency measures on Saturday, including ordering cars off the road and telling factories and schools to close, after pollution soared to more than 10 times safe levels, reported.

On Sunday, the number of children being taken to Beijing hospitals with breathing trouble soared. Photos showed waiting rooms crowded with parents carrying children who wore face masks.

Authorities in the northern province of Hebei ordered coal and cement plants to temporarily shut down or reduce production. Elsewhere, hospitals prepared teams of doctors to handle an expected surge in cases of pollution-related illnesses.

China's longstanding air pollution is blamed on its reliance on coal and emissions from older cars.

Beijing and other cities have tried to improve air quality by switching power plants from coal to natural gas and rolling out fleets of electric buses and taxis.


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