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Beijing government catches criticism for continuous smog

Feb. 16, 2014 at 2:57 PM

BEIJING, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- The Beijing municipal government's failure to enact an emergency response to three straight days of smog covering the city has prompted criticism.

As of Sunday morning, the air quality index in downtown Beijing was 424 and 470 at Level 6, the highest level indicating hazardous pollution, China's state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.

Although the city has been blanketed by smog for the past three days, authorities have not enacted an emergency response system created in October that requires alternate driving days for even- and odd-numbered license plates and schools suspended if a red alert is issued.

The system was a success when implemented in October, but has not been used since then.

"Beijing municipal government, don't pretend to be blind taking advantages of the fog," the China Central Television station said via its official microblog website. "The government should not shun its responsibility or turn a blind eye to the smog."

Meanwhile, rain forecast for northern China will likely clear the smog, Xinhua reported.

The rain is expected to hit within the next three days.

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