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Posted at: Dec 11, 2015, 1:52 AM; last updated: Dec 11, 2015, 1:50 AM (IST)

As smog disperses, Beijing lifts red alert

Breathing easier for two days?

  • The red alert ended at noon on Thursday when blue skies reappeared after strong winds helped to disperse pollution that had shrouded the Chinese capital in toxic smog
  • However, the relief and excitement about the reappearance of blue sky has already been overshadowed by concerns that the heavy smog will return again in two days
  • Meteorologists expect heavy smog to onceshroud the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area over the weekend because ofthe lack of wind
As smog disperses, Beijing lifts red alert
The image compares two days — Dec 9 and 10 (top) —wherein commuters are seen waiting for their buses on clear and polluted days in Beijing. AFP

Beijing, December 10

Chinese capital Beijing’s first-ever red alert for high air pollution was lifted today after the hazardous smog, which engulfed the city of over 22 million residents, dissipated bringing much relief to them.

The red alert which hit global headlines ended at noon today when blue skies reappeared after strong winds helped to disperse pollution that had shrouded the Chinese capital in toxic smog.

Earlier today, the Beijing municipal government issued a "thank you" message to residents in appreciation of the public's understanding and cooperation in helping to reduce pollution levels. "(Your cooperation) has made a significant contribution to stopping further worsening of the smog," said the municipal government letter published on its website. "We are deeply moved by everybody's dedication and full support," it said.

On Tuesday, the smog blanketed at least six provinces and municipalities, covering more than 840,000 square km, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said. In addition to Beijing, Tianjin and 29 cities in Hebei, Shandong and Shanxi provinces have issued different levels of alert aimed at curbing the smog.

However, the relief and excitement about the reappearance of blue sky has already been overshadowed by concerns that the heavy smog will return again in two days.

Meteorologists expect heavy smog to once shroud the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area over the weekend because of the lack of wind, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported. "Two days, only two days (of blue sky), sigh," posted one social media commentator on Weibo, the Chinese Twitter.

The PM 2.5 levels, the main gauge to measure pollution by the US Embassy Monitor here, dropped below 100 after touching nearly 400 in the last two days. — PTI

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