Air pollution is reaching record levels in many countries, particularly in China. At least 10 cities and one province are on “red alert”.
Beijing declared a “red alert” for the first time this year in early December, before repeating it last week. Schools are recommended to close. Students and teachers hope the weather improves.
“Of course I expect blue skies tomorrow. I’m a teacher and I hope blue skies will return so that the children can be back to study in their classrooms,” said teacjher Li Jina.
The situation is dangerous in the city of Xinxiang.
The concentration of particularly dangerous particles has reached a level, (730 mcg/m3), 30 times the maximum recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).
In Iran’s capital air quality has been in the “red alert” zone since last week, with the volume of particles rising seven times beyond acceptable levels, according local media.
In addition the average number of deaths in Tehran has increased from 150 to 180 people a day, one local official said.
Meanwhile, in Europe the municipality of Milan, in northern Italy, has decided to ban all traffic on 28, 29 and 30 December, (between 10 am and 16 pm), to fight against pollution exceeding permitted limits.
In Rome, the same decision has been taken for Monday and Tuesday after the city’s alternating traffic system was recently implemented several times.
In Madrid in Spain the City Council has activated traffic restrictions for the third time.
Bosnia & Herzegovina is experiencing high air pollution levels. In Sarajevo schools are closed. Health institutions recommend the use of protective masks which are not currently available in Sarajevo pharmacies.
Volunteers are distributing masks for free.