Heavy smog in large parts of China caused over 150 flights to be cancelled and highways to shut after the New Year holiday.
A total of 164 arrivals and departures at the airport in Shijiazhuang, capital of north China's Hebei Province, had been cancelled till early this morning, state run Xinhua newsagency reported on Wednesday.
Four flights were forced to land at other airports and another 23 flights were delayed due to low visibility. Dense fog temporarily closed several sections of six expressways in Beijing on Tuesday morning, the first working day after the New Year holiday, according to Beijing Traffic Management Bureau.
Heavy smog shrouding Beijing and 71 cities for the past five days is set to get to worse in the next few days while the government dispatched 40,000 officials to inspect violations by factories flaunting warnings to halt operations. The Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) said onJanuary 2 its rectification measures have not yet been fully implemented, and some enterprises in cities severely affected by smog have performed poorly in emissions reduction evaluations.
Ten teams, consisting of 40,000 personnel from multiple levels of government, have reportedly been mobilised to inspect over 30,000 enterprises and construction sites, aswell as 60,000 vehicles across the country, the news agency reported. In east China's Shandong Province, 80 flights had been cancelled or delayed at the airport in the capital, Jinan City, as of 11 AM.
About 180 flights were cancelled over the past two days in neighbouring Henan Province, with visibility falling to just 10 metres yesterday morning. The airport resumed operations in the afternoon, but the traffic may again be affected as more fog is expected today, according to the airport.
Many regions in China have been under heavy smog sinceFriday, disrupting traffic. Beijing on Sunday extended its orange alert for heavy air pollution until midnight on Wednesday. China's national observatory yesterday issued a red alert for fog and renewed an orange alert for smog in a number of northern, eastern and central regions.
China has a four-tier colour-coded warning system for severe weather, with red being the most serious, followed by orange, yellow and blue.