Beijing will launch an emergency plan within this year for days when the air pollution, is considered to be heavy, according to environmental officials at a conference Friday.
Chen Tian, head of the municipal Environmental Protection Bureau said that primary and middle schools will cancel outdoor activities, and government employees will set an example by not driving official cars, the Beijing News reported. But Chen did not specify how polluted the air would need to be before the plan is activated.
Zhao Guowei, media officer with the municipal education commission said they have not received an official notice yet. He told the Global Times earlier that there were no regulations stipulating that Beijing schools should act against pollution, but teachers would protect students from extreme weather.
International schools in Beijing commonly cancel outdoor activities if the pollution or weather is bad.
Zhang Zheng, whose 7-year-old son attends Zhaodengyu primary school, Fengtai district, said she welcomes the plan.
"My son got sick once after an outdoor PE class on a polluted day," she said, suggesting that the plan carries a "humanitarian touch" for children.
The emergency plan is part of a government air pollution control blueprint for Beijing in the next eight years. It indicates that road cleaning will be enhanced and construction sites should stop transporting residue and work involving earth if air pollution is heavy.
Beijing still needs 18 to 20 years before its PM2.5 readings reach a national standard, Hong Feng, deputy mayor of Beijing said during the conference. Eliminating motor vehicles with excessive emissions, expanding green coverage and reducing coal burning are measures to reach that goal, he said, given that Beijing's air quality ranks 1,035 worldwide, according to a report by the World Health Organization last year.