‘You can’t blame anyone’: Residents fight against pollution in Beijing
The first week of the Lunar New Year festivities in Beijing was plagued by pollution and a deadly smog.
The air quality index in Beijing, which is in the top 20 of major cities in the world, has topped 100.
The government has been urging residents to limit their activities during the Lunar year, which starts on December 6.
But the Chinese government is not allowing anyone to take any public transport during the time of the festival, according to Xinhua news agency.
Residents in Beijing are also required to limit outdoor activities, such as hiking, swimming, skiing and camping.
In the capital, people are being urged to stay indoors as the pollution in the air is not conducive for healthy living.
“It is not good to wear long pants or long socks, but this is just a precautionary measure,” a local told Xinhua.
The health department says the average daily temperature in Beijing is 37 degrees Celsius, the highest in China, and the smog is affecting the lungs of millions of people.
According to the Chinese Ministry of Health, there were more than 1,300 air pollution alerts issued in the capital from January 1 to December 31.
“Air quality is not improving, the air quality is getting worse, there is a huge amount of air pollution, so the health authorities are calling on people to stay inside,” said a Beijing-based environmental activist.
The capital is currently on a week-long lockdown, while Beijing is expected to be officially closed for the Lunar month of December, which ends on January 6.
A total of 7,000 police have been deployed in the city, according the Xinhua report.
“If the authorities can’t control pollution, they should start doing it,” a man in Beijing told the Chinese media.
“We should not be a burden to the people.”
On Monday, a protest against pollution started in the streets of the capital.
The protest was started by the Beijing-Hong Kong Federation of Students, which represents more than 2,000 students from Hong Kong.
In addition to students, more than 200 teachers, including several from mainland China, have been participating in the protest.
The students are demanding that the city government fix pollution issues, including restrictions on the number of flights a day.
The university said the university’s administration would issue an emergency declaration to all students who want to participate in the demonstration.
The students’ main demand is that the government ban flights that take place from the capital to Hong Kong, according Xinhua, but there have been no official announcements from the government on this.
In a report published on Monday, the United Nations agency warned that Beijing was facing a worsening air pollution crisis.
More than one-fifth of Beijing’s residents suffer from respiratory problems, the UN said.
China’s air quality rose to dangerous levels in December, with the country’s PM2.5 level reaching a record high of 538 micrograms per cubic metre (PM2.6).