China: At least four killed, 40 injured in pile-ups as Shanghai reels under heavy smog

Heavy pollution continued to haunt China as a spell of heavy smog, which has enveloped northeastern and northern parts, has affected more than one tenth of country's land territory.

By: PTI | Beijing | Published:November 6, 2016 3:25 pm

At least four persons were killed and 40 others injured on Sunday in multiple pile-up accidents along an expressway in Shanghai as heavy smog engulfed several cities in China. Several road accidents were reported along the S32 expressway in Pudong New Area due to foggy weather. Hospitals in Pudong, Zhoupu and Shuguang cities received 44 people, Shanghai municipal health department said.

Four of them died despite medical efforts, and among the other 40, nine were seriously injured, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. Shanghai weather station at 6 AM issued an orange alert on heavy fog, the second highest level in China’s weather alert system, which means a fog with visibility of less than 200 meters in the following six hours.

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Meanwhile, heavy pollution continued to haunt China as a spell of heavy smog, which has enveloped northeastern and northern parts, has affected more than one tenth of country’s land territory. Some 6.30 lakh square kms of land in northeastern China and 3.80 lakh square kms of land in northern China have been under the influence of the latest smog spell. Adverse meteorological conditions were to blame, the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) said on Saturday.

Seven provinces and municipalities, including Beijing and Tianjin, saw their air pollution index hike, with Air Quality Index (AQI) readings hitting 500 in 11 cities in northeastern China over the November 3-5 period. In northern China, average density of PM2.5 – airborne particles smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter – peaked in multiple cities on Friday, but air pollution ebbed on yesterday, the MEP said.

The ministry said it had already sent 12 inspection teams to the Tianjin municipality and the provinces of Hebei, Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning and Shandong for emergency inspections.

Problems found by the inspections teams so far included weak emergency responses and inadequate countermeasures against heavy air pollution, suspected excessive discharge by 39 enterprises, and large-scale straw burning, the report said.