Steel and smog

Source:Global Times Published: 2015-12-9 19:23:01

A steel mill in Tangshan's Qian'an township spews smoke into the night sky on Tuesday. Photo: Cui Meng/GT

Corn left to dry outside in a village in Qian'an township is covered with dust from nearby steel mills. Photo: Cui Meng/GT

A truck carrying coal drives by a steel mill in Qian'an. Photo: Cui Meng/GT

Locals can see polluting factories from their houses. Photo: Cui Meng/GT

A villager rides her bike on a smoggy Wednesday. Photo: Cui Meng/GT

Tangshan, Hebei Province was clouded in gray smog on Tuesday, and yet, a few factories continued to release dense smoke into the sky.

On Tuesday, the Tangshan government announced an orange pollution alert, the second highest measure, after Beijing's government began the strictest emergency response, the red alert, the day before.

According to the alert guidelines, factories should have shut down or cut production. But citizens are questioning how effective the emergency measures are, and whether greater joint efforts need to be taken by Beijing and its neighboring regions.

Tangshan is one of the three key iron ore mining areas in China. As a result, steel mills flocked there and make up the pillar industry in the city. Tangshan produces around 11 percent of China's steel.

Hebei has been seen as the biggest source of Beijing's smog in recent years, mostly because of its heavy industries. Local city governments are under pressure to shut down mills, but despite some measures being taken, pollution has persisted.

In October, the Ministry of Environmental Protection released a report on the air quality of 74 major cities, and seven out of the 10 most polluted cities are in Hebei.

The pollution has deeply affected many people's lives.

A resident of a village in Tangshan's Qian'an township told the Global Times the entire area is constantly covered by dust from the Yanshan Steel Mill. They can't even open their windows, otherwise the dust would settle inside.

"We can't even dry our clothes outside after doing laundry," he said. 

Photo: Cui Meng/GT

Photo: Cui Meng/GT

Photo: Cui Meng/GT


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