Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

People vulnerable to smog need better protection

By Zhu Qiwen (China Daily) Updated: 2015-12-09 14:47

People vulnerable to smog need better protection

Campus of Ritan Elementary School is covered with heavy smog in Chaoyang district, Beijing at 7:30 am, Dec 8, 2015. [Photo/IC]

To win the war against air pollution, it is more than important for the Beijing municipal government to come up with necessary measures to minimize the exposure of local residents, especially the most vulnerable groups, to the dense smog that could compromise public health.

The first-ever red alert issued by Beijing against hazardous air pollution between Tuesday and Thursday will allow the capital to fight this long and hard battle with high hopes.

The move may seem belated to many who suffered the effects of the thick smog that engulfed the city about a week ago. But there is no denying that it accords fresh credibility to Beijing's resolution to tackle the problem head on.

Thanks to the highest-level alert, the odd-and-even license plate rule will keep almost half of the 5 million cars in the city off the roads and industrial production will be strictly restricted or stopped to reduce pollution during heavy smog. The inconvenience the move will cause residents and its impact on economic growth are obvious, but they are no longer good enough reason to stop the local authorities from taking severe measures to curb pollution.

Local officials have also asked kindergartens, and primary and high schools to suspend classes to reduce the exposure of more than 1 million children and adolescents to toxic air.

The short notice to close schools issued on Monday night caught many parents, especially working couples, by surprise, giving them little time to figure out how to take care of their children during the day. But they, too, know the importance of the serious official response to the emergency and realize that their children will be safer at home than while venturing out to go to school during a red alert.

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