Beijing issues pollution alert ahead of three days of heavy smog
BEIJING (REUTERS) - China's capital Beijing issued an emergency pollution alert for the first time on Thursday, warning residents to reduce outdoor activities and construction sites to control dust given a forecast of heavy smog over the next three days.
Pollution is an increasing concern for China's leaders, keen to douse potential unrest as affluent city dwellers turn against a growth-at-all-costs economic model that has tainted much of the country's air, water and soil.
Severe pollution in Beijing has made it "barely suitable"for living, according to an official report published earlier this month, and despite numerous measures aimed at improving air quality in recent years, Beijing still regularly suffers from choking smog.
The Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau said on its website it had issued a Yellow alert - the first use of a colour-coded warning system unveiled last October.