The red alert over high pollution has been withdrawn by the Beijing government, even though a cloud of dangerous mist exists over Beijing for the fifth consecutive day. The government has lifted the warning as it expects the smog to alleviate during the latter half of December 23. Currently, the city continues to experience further increase in smog during the day. The air at Tiananmen Square contained 327 micrograms per cubic meter of PM2.5 at 10 a.m. PM2.5 is the tiniest particle that can cause severe health risks.
Subsequent to the withdrawal of red alert, restrictions on traffic were eased and schools were re-opened. In Beijing, government issues red alert when the air quality index is predicted to go beyond 200 for three consecutive days. The biggest challenge that the government has to counter, while predicting and restricting pollution levels, is to maintain the minimum level of impact on the lives of 20 million Beijing residents.
According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the air quality is likely to get better from north to south during the evening of December 23 and December 25. “The warning system of pollution is just a temporary way to reduce smog. The nation should curb coal use, the biggest cause of smog, to tackle the issue in the long run, said Dong Liansai, Climate and Energy Campaigner at Greenpeace East Asia.