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Shanghai residents breathed the most polluted air they had seen in two months on Wednesday as weak cold air from the north brought pollutants to the Yangtze River Delta.
But clean air is expected on Thursday thanks to another round of cold air, forecasters said.
Seasonal factors played an important role as winter is the high pollution season, and straw burning in nearby provinces also contributed to the pollution, experts said.
Shanghai's air quality index, a new air quality reporting system that monitors sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, PM10 and PM2.5, reached 254 by 7 pm on Wednesday.
The figure, which indicated the air had reached the level of heavy pollution, was the highest seen since the index was introduced two months ago, according to the Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center.
Shanghai's hourly density of PM2.5, air particles smaller than 2.5 microns, also reached 250 micrograms per cubic meter by 10 am, while the reading was only 60 micrograms per cubic meter early Tuesday morning.
The heavy pollution in the eastern metropolis followed thick air pollution in Beijing over the weekend. Beijing's density of PM2.5 broke the record since the municipality began publishing the data in early 20XX as its figure went higher than 900 micrograms per cubic meter in several districts of the city on Saturday.
Lin Chenyan, a forecaster with Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center, said the cold front brought in airborne pollutants from the north.
"The cold snap is like a broom sweeping down all the way to Shanghai, and it brings the dust here," said Lin, adding that atmospheric motion sometimes causes trouble such as that.
Before arriving in Shanghai, the pollutants had left some of Shanghai's neighboring provinces shrouded in smog and fog.
Fifty out of the 72 monitoring stations in Jiangsu province reported medium to heavy pollution on Monday evening, according to Zhang Xiangzhi, deputy director of the Jiangsu Environmental Monitoring Center.
Yang Xin, a professor with Fudan University's department of environmental science and engineering who specializes in atmospheric particulates, said seasonal influences explain the record-breaking data in both Beijing and Shanghai.
"Take Shanghai as an example. It just celebrated its cleanest summer in 20XX - sea breeze from the southeast is helpful in diluting pollutants in the air. However, the monsoons coming from the northwest in the winter usually bring dirty air from the north," Yang said.
Agricultural straw burning in nearby areas also contributed to part of Shanghai's PM2.5 reading, according to Wang Lin, a researcher at Fudan University's Department of Environmental Science and Engineering.
"But it's hard for the Shanghai government to prohibit farmers in the neighboring regions from doing so," Wang said.
According to Lin, the forecaster, Shanghai's air was set to improve on Wednesday night and early Thursday morning. The next wave of cold air is much cleaner because of the clearing of air pollution in the north.
Chinese cities should close schools, cut working hours and stop outdoor activities during the most severe spells of air pollution, the ministry of environmental protection has said.
"Every possible compulsory measure" must be taken to cut emissions during the heaviest smog – including suspending factory production and imposing traffic restrictions.
The ministry's guidelines, issued in a circular, come as China grapples with frequent choking smog in its big cities, a consequence of years of breakneck economic growth that has fuelled public anger.
State media recently reported that an eight-year-old girl who lived near a busy thoroughfare in the coastal province of Jiangsu had been diagnosed with lung cancer. The case of the girl, believed to be the country's youngest lung cancer patient, has sparked a public outcry.
Despite frequent calls for cutting pollution over recent years, and growing public anger, the problem has only got worse. Schools and workplaces typically operate as normal in all but the most severe smog, even when it reaches hazardous levels.
Primary and middle schools suspended classes last month in the north-east city of Harbin during a smog emergency. The airport and some bus routes were also closed.
China must also toughen anti-pollution measures on industry and reduce its dependence on coal, which produces more than three-quarters of the country's electricity, the environment ministry said.
Public security departments should also toughen checks on vehicles, including phasing out older ones, and ensure there are not too many on the roads, it said.
China said in September it would slash coal consumption and shut down polluting mills, factories and smelters, though experts have said implementing the measures would prove difficult.
Air pollution is expected to worsen this winter because of a chronic natural gas shortage.
Everybody is good! The topic of my speech today is: the protection of the ecological environment, away from thehaze weather! We have found that the bar, a few years this fall and winter seasons, we in Zhengzhou have occurred haze weather. This year's, have big scope, pollution is serious, long duration, is rare in recent years.
"Scratchy throat, sore eyes, ear pain, headache......" Many people appear, "haze symptoms". Many of ourstudents wear thick gauze masks, or will face with a scarf wrapped around our school class-break setting-up exercise, even stopped, "worry about air toxic!" respiratory disease at. Air pollution, everyone is a victim, yet most people also bear the responsibility of more or less.
The haze weather is a serious air pollution incidents, a large quantity of pollutant discharge is the root cause. Most parts of automobile exhaust, coal-fired emissions, emissions of industrial enterprises, agricultural burning of straw.Therefore, love and protect our living environment, should be every citizen should consciously abide by the.
Damage to the environment easily, recovery is a long time. "Mist" before, paid the price we should reflect on,what habits increase the "load": litter, convenient use plastic bags, disposable items, burning leaves, straw,automobile exhaust emissions...... Rare haze weather, also let people realize the need to change, there are many. In order to reduce the pollution, we each have a car people should consciously try to reduce, even without a kilometer, a week not to drive a car, don't even open, or, we take turns driving a car, to minimize air pollution.
Let us act together, Protect environment, improve air quality, try to let the haze weather away from people's life.