At 8pm Tuesday night the AQI (Air Quality Index) of Shanghai passed 200, which triggered the first blue air pollution alert for 2018.
Prior to this, residents of Shanghai woke Tuesday morning to a blanket of heavy fog, covering high-rise buildings and leaving everyone questioning why the air quality had changed so dramatically. While this mystical looking haze provided a great opportunity for the photographers among us, it also reminded us that severe air pollution is a constant battle.
According to the Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center (SEMC) statistics, from 4pm Tuesday the density of PM2.5 started to rise and the AQI reached 202 at 8pm, falling into the heavily-polluted category.
Shanghai released the blue air pollution alert promptly. The blue alarm, the lowest in the four-tier alarm system (blue, yellow, orange and red), suggests that within the next 24 hours there will be heavy air pollution (AQI between 201-300) or moderate air pollution (AQI between 151-200) with some short-term heavy air pollution.
When the blue alarm is activated, children, the elderly and those with heart and lung diseases are advised to stay indoors. Other citizens are reminded to also reduce outdoor activities. At the same time, industries such as steel, petroleum and chemicals, which tend to produce air pollutants, are ordered to reduce waste discharge and all construction work (except for emergencies) must cease.
“For now, the AQI amounts to approximately 105 to 175,” a staff member at SEMC advised. “In suburban areas like Fengxian District and Jinshan District, there may even be more heavily polluted conditions. It won’t improve until this Friday afternoon.”
Recently, Shanghai unveiled its latest environmental protection plan which includes efforts to improve the air quality of the city. With the implementation of new initiatives, let’s keep our fingers crossed that the first pollution alert can also become the last one for this year.
[Images via Weibo, Chinanews, The Paper]