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Beijing To Spend Billions For Clean Air

First Posted: Jan 17, 2017 04:40 AM EST
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In 2015, China's capital declared, for the first time, its first smog red alert. However, a few years down the road, things have only gotten worse.

In fact, according to the Xinhua, things have become so bad that Beijing will have to invest 18.2 billion yuan ($2.6 billion) this year to fight air pollution and make the place healthier for the 22 million people living there. China's capital has been suffering from air pollution for years, due mostly to uncontrolled industrialization. On Sunday, a yellow alert was issued, as smog was expected to hang over the city until Tuesday night. Air quality was expected to improve shortly, thanks to the arrival of cold air.

Beijing's four-tier alert is easy enough to understand. Red is the most polluted air, followed in lesser degrees by the colors orange, yellow and blue. The yellow alert is actually already dangerous: the air quality index would have already exceeded 200 micrograms per cubic meter for 48 hours. It is enough for citizens to experience serious health impacts.

The Red Alert, meanwhile, is close to hazardous as particles reach 290 micrograms per cubic meter. To illustrate the severity of the issue, the city is now aiming to control the annual average density of 2.5 PM from 73 micrograms per cubic meter to 60.

To do so, The Independent noted that Beijing is planning on replacing coal with clean energy for 700 villages, removing 300,000 high polluting vehicles, as well as the close or update of over 2,500 factories. A specialized police unit has also been created to help "crack down on violations in environment protection." Among these violations include open-air barbecues, garbage incineration and even the burning of wood and biomass.

Still, such measures of protecting the environment have done little to Beijing's "unlivable" reputation, especially after Under the Dome, a Chinese documentary on the negative effects of pollution, went viral on the Internet before the government sensors were able to take it down from Chinese video-sharing websites.

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