Beijing ( AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Chinese government again today cancelled dozens of flights to and from the north-eastern provinces , completely wrapped in a blanket of smog that in some areas of the country has reduced the visibility to less than ten meters. In the area surrounding Beijing - as well as in Shanxi, Liaoning and Heilongjiang - the environmental conditions have forced the authorities to issue orders to close schools, restrict traffic urban and ask the population to "stay indoors as much as possible ."
The main cause of the blanket of smog is PM 2.5 (particulate matter - Airborne dust - 2.5 micrograms per cubic meter ) caused by industrial production and intensified by the arrival of winter. The cold provokes the ignition of millions of radiators, which in turn have increased the coal burned in power plants.
Yesterday, the average levels of PM 2.5 were at 1,000 micrograms per cubic meter : today 822 micrograms , still a percentage 30 times higher than the average considered safe by the World Health Organization. For the international body levels should not exceed 25 micrograms per cubic meter.
The situation has sparked a debate on Sina Weibo , the popular Chinese micro-blogging site . A user tells the story of a class in which all students were delayed "because they could not find the school building", while another describes Harbin - one of the cities most affected by smog - as a "dead city ."
A student of Changchun in Jilin , writes: " Today my mother called me and asked me how the air in the city was. Then she asked me if I was coughing. I told her not to worry, that I feel good and that I'm almost sure to live up to my diploma".