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China vows penalties for delayed launch of emergency plan

Updated: Dec 7,2015 8:54 AM     Xinhua

BEIJING — Environment Minister Chen Jining vowed on Dec 6 to strictly punish agencies or personnel who fail to initiate emergency response plan in a timely manner as heavy smog is predicted to shroud northern China again.

Local environment protection agencies, especially those in Beijing, Tianjing, Hebei, Shandong, Henan and Shanxi which are constantly challenged by air pollution, should examine their emergency response measures and reflect upon deficiencies, said Chen at an emergency meeting to cope with the upcoming smoggy days.

Strict standards and practical work styles should be adopted to deal with the upcoming days, he ordered.

The minister asked local governments to initiate appropriate emergency responses according to the highest level of forecast pollution.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection has dispatched inspection teams to regions with heavy pollution to ensure emergency plans are being launched in time, monitor and control pollution sources such as coal burning, and enhance management on vehicles that cannot meet national emission standards.

China’s weather observatory issued a yellow alert for smog that will cover the country’s northern regions from Dec 6 to 7 evening and the smog is expected to linger till Dec 9.

Beijing’s Education Commission has decided to suspend outdoor activities in all elementary and middle schools, kindergartens and extracurricular training schools during the alert.