9 killed, 43 hurt in pile-ups as smog blankets China
At least nine people were killed and 43 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. In one accident, two people were killed when a tanker hit four people who had got off a minibus. Another accident occurred 3kms away on the expressway when a van was hit by two heavy vehicles, killing five people, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. Two more accident victims died in a hospital. So far 43 people have been admitted in hospitals in Pudong, Zhoupu and Shuguang cities.
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. 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 yesterday.
Seven provinces and municipalities, 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 the day before, 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, the report said.