Shanghai issues this year's first air pollution alert

The lowest blue color air pollution alert was triggered this morning after the air quality index surpassed 200.
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

Shanghai's average air quality index reached 259, or heavily polluted, this noon.

Shanghai activated this year’s first blue-color air pollution alarm at 8am today after the air quality index (AQI) surpassed 200, the threshold of heavy pollution.

Under the alarm, anti-pollution measures have been taken. Construction sites were ordered to suspend open-air operations. Heavy industry factories, especially those discharging large amounts of volatile organic compounds, were required to reduce waste discharge.

Citizens, especially those with heart and lung diseases, were reminded to avoid out-door activities.

Shanghai’s AQI had been rising since early this morning. By noon, the average index reached 259, with tiny particle PM2.5 being the major pollution. The air pollutant was reported to have surpassed a density of 200 micrograms per cubic meter in most districts – eight times of World Health Organization’s standard of 25 micrograms per cubic meter for 24 hours.

According to Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center, this round of pollution was mainly caused by air pollutants carried into the city by cold front from the north. The situation is expected to be eased by tomorrow.

It was the first air pollution alarm issued by the environment authority this year. According to the criteria for the activation of the lowest blue alarm, it is issued when there is moderate pollution (AQI between 151 and 200) and short-time heavy pollution (over 200) predicted in the next 24 hours.

The highest red color alert in the four-tier system would only be triggered when AQI is forecasted to top 400, or severely polluted, for the next 24 hours. Schools and kindergartens will be closed when the red alert is activated.

According to the environmental monitoring center, Shanghai’s average AQI would fall to around 100, or slightly polluted this evening. Tomorrow, the index will be between 75 and 95, or good. Tuesday’s AQI is forecasted to be between 85 and 105 – surpassing 100, the threshold for slight pollution. Nitrogen dioxide will be the major pollution.

The Shanghai Meteorological Bureau also issued a lowest blue-color alert for gale this morning. Strong northwest wind had been expected in Shanghai till today's midnight.

Under the influence of the latest round of cold front, the highest temperature tomorrow will drop to 9 degrees Celsius from today’s 12. The lowest temperature will be 3 degrees, and might drop to -2 degrees in some suburban districts in the morning.

Tomorrow and Tuesday will be mostly sunny. Tuesday’s temperature is forecasted to be between 3 and 11 degrees.

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