China’s Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region looks set to be struck by more heavy air pollution in November, the Ministry of Environment Protection has warned.
Cities in the central and southern parts of the region will experience the smog due to combined effects of windless days, high moisture and the temperature inversion layer.
According to the Ministry, the accumulation of PM2.5 pollutants worsened in October compared to the rest of the year, with the moderate to heavy air pollution felt in Handan, Shijiazhuang and Baoding.
Smogs across Chinese urban areas are known to worsen in winter due to largely coal-fired heating systems being activated. This can be exacerbated by unfavourable weather conditions.
The Ministry has sent six inspection teams to launch enforcement operations in cities such as Langfang, Baoding, Tangshan, Handan, and Xingtai of Hebei Province, and verified in the field whether the online monitoring data of some pollution sources under national monitoring programs have failed the emission standards.
They found that some iron and steel makers and coking companies had ‘prominent problems’ with illegal pollution discharge, with one forging online monitoring data to evade inspections.
In addition, environmental treatment of some industries ‘lagged behind’ according to the Ministry, while incineration of plastics was found in multiple places which led to serious pollution.
The Ministry has called on local environmental protection departments to investigate unregulated emissions, and is keeping ‘a close eye’ on the air quality status in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei and surrounding areas.
In August last year, a US study paper suggested air pollution kills an average of 4,000 people every day in China – the equivalent of 17% of all fatalities in the country (see airqualitynews.com story).