BEIJING – Smog choking central and eastern China caused authorities Saturday to issue an orange alert as the number of people seeking treatment in hospitals for respiratory problems jumped and sales of air filters and masks skyrocketed.
The alert was raised from yellow to the second-highest level on China’s four-tier warning system for extreme weather, in which red is the highest, as the pollution reduced visibility to a soup, disrupted flights and caused many people to stay home.
Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui and Henan provinces have suffered smog for six consecutive days, the Xinhua news agency said, while other central and eastern regions have experienced three to five days of smog.
“It is like a disaster movie,” one angry online post said.
Nanjing, Jiangsu’s capital, was under a red alert, and Shanghai has been plagued by high levels of air pollution after air masses carried industrial emissions from neighboring Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces.