A cloud of pollution hangs over Beijing

(Beijing) The city of Beijing closed its stadiums on Friday due to air pollution, as China ramped up its coal production in the midst of COP26 on climate change.


China, the world’s biggest polluter, is under fire at the ongoing international conference in Glasgow, due to the absence of President Xi Jinping.

At a time when countries must negotiate cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, China announced this week that it has increased its coal production by 1 million tons per day.

The country, which is 60% dependent on hard coal for electricity production, has faced blackouts in recent months and has ramped up coal mining accordingly.

In this context, dense fog shrouded the Chinese capital on Friday, with visibility dropping to 200 meters in some places, according to the national weather forecast.

PHOTO JADE GAO, AFP

Sections of highways to major cities across the country have been closed due to insufficient visibility.

Local authorities blamed “bad weather and regional pollution” for the phenomenon.

Schools in the capital have been ordered to suspend sports lessons and all outdoor activities.

The presence of fine particles has been assessed at around 220, a “very unhealthy” level, by the US Embassy in Beijing, while the World Health Organization recommends not exceeding a threshold of 15.

Air pollution has declined significantly in recent years in Beijing, which is due to host the Winter Olympics next February.

But the arrival of cold this year has gradually turned on heating in the northern regions of the country, increasing pollution.

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