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Haze continues to cover east, north China

Beijing, Dec 8 (): Heavy haze still covered China Saturday, with highways closed and flights cancelled or delayed following a serious alert for the worsening haze.

More than 100 entrances to highways in east China’s Shandong province were temporarily closed due to haze on Saturday, and some flights were cancelled or delayed at the Jinan and Qingdao airports.

China uses a four-tier warning system for air pollution and extreme weather, with red being the most serious, followed by orange, yellow and blue.

On Saturday morning, a yellow alert was given for the heavy fog by the National Meteorological Centre (NMC); later the centre issued an orange alert, reports Xinhua.

The NMC said central and southern parts of north China, the Yangtze Delta region and central and southern Beijing, will suffer level four to five air pollution, with the heaviest level six pollution in some areas. The centre reported most of those areas will have moderate haze, while Jiangsu province, northern Zhejiang province, eastern Anhui province, and central and southern Hebei province will have heavy haze.

Shanghai has been snowing under high levels of air pollution for several days after air masses carried industrial emissions from neighbouring Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces.

On Friday, Shanghai authorities halted all construction work and ordered children indoors as the financial hub suffered one of its worst attacks of air pollution.

Officials also lessened bus service by one-third and cancelled some flights to and from Shanghai airport.

In Hebei Province, on Saturday visibility was less than 50 meters in some areas as the polluting weather hit several major cities like Shijiazhuang, the provincial capital, and Baoding. Many highways were closed.

Earlier this week, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said that there were three major reasons behind the widespread haze: unfavourable weather conditions making it difficult for pollutants to diffuse, motor vehicle exhaust, and coal consumption for winter heating.