China Enveloped in Smog The Chinese government issued a red

text B1
week 51
December 15th, 2015
China Enveloped in Smog
The Chinese government issued a red
smog alert on Monday, December 7th.
The 72-hour shutdown of major cities,
like Beijing, was effective until
5 Thursday, December 10th, at noon.
Smog is a form of air pollution. It is a
mixture of fog, smoke and chemical
fumes. That mixture forms a thick blanket,
10 making it difficult to breathe. Smog is
harmful to people’s health, and occurs
especially in cities.
Meteorological conditions, such as high
15 levels of humidity, low winds, and
changes in temperature can cause the
fog. The fumes from vehicles, the
emissions from coal plants and outdoor
construction work create smoke and
20 chemical fumes. Together, the weather
conditions and the daily city pollution are
a sure formula for smog.
A smog alert
There are three different smog alert levels
25 – yellow, orange and red – red being the
most critical. The latest red smog alert
affected the daily lives of those in the
Chinese capital. Schools were closed,
construction sites stopped building, and
30 the number of cars on the road was
To keep from breathing in the hazardous
fumes, people wear face masks. Those
interviewed on the streets, said that they
35 don’t go outside as much. Local street
vendors have fewer customers, airplane
flights are delayed, and children don’t play
sports outside.
40 The Chinese government does not want
to bring the large cities to a standstill by
issuing a red smog alert, even if the level
of pollution warrants a red smog alert. In
the past they have preferred to issue a
45 lower level smog alert. This has caused
criticism from the Chinese people.
What is China doing to combat smog?
China needs to do something to cut the
amount of dangerous smog that smothers
50 its cities. It aims to cut the emissions in
half by 2030. There are also long-term
plans to improve the coal power plants in
the next five years. However, the
government officials in China are not in
55 agreement about what is causing the
heavy air pollution. Do they blame the
exhaust from vehicles, the winter heating
systems that use coal, or the coal-burning
power plants? Yet, one thing is certain:
60 they have to do something.
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