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China issues second red alert for Beijing pollution

By Shawn Price
Tourists visit Tiananmen Square on Friday as hazardous air pollution hits Beijing again. China warned residents across a large part of northern China to prepare of a wave of choking smog arriving over the weekend, the worst of which is expected to hit China's capital, prompting the government to issue its second ever "red alert." Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI
Tourists visit Tiananmen Square on Friday as hazardous air pollution hits Beijing again. China warned residents across a large part of northern China to prepare of a wave of choking smog arriving over the weekend, the worst of which is expected to hit China's capital, prompting the government to issue its second ever "red alert." Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

BEIJING, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- Beijing officials have issued a second pollution red alert in just over a week. The red alert is the highest level of the country's air-pollution response system, launched in 2013.

The Chinese capital is expected to suffer through another thick blanket of hazardous smog through Tuesday, meteorologists said. The smog is expected to stretch almost 1,200 miles, smothering Beijing and 11 other cities, government officials said.

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The restrictions during the red alert will require schools to close, no fireworks or barbecuing, limitations on factories and construction, non-government cars to only be driven on alternate days depending on license plate numbers and 30 percent of government cars to keep off streets entirely, in what some call an "airpocalypse."

Beijing officials also have urged people to avoid any outdoor activity.

On Nov. 30, the air in some parts of Beijing contained nearly 40 times the deadly particulate PM 2.5 limit recommended by the World Health Organization. Long-term exposure to high levels of the particulate has been linked to lung damage and respiratory illnesses.

Coal-based heating and industries used heavily in Beijing winters are key contributors to the air pollution.

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