October 31, 2018 / 6:51 AM / 14 days ago

Three cities in industrial Chinese province of Hebei issue pollution alerts -state media

BEIJING, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Three cities in China’s northern province of Hebei have issued second-level or ‘orange’ pollution alerts, a state-back newspaper reported on Wednesday, forcing industrial plants to cut output.

The major steelmaking hub of Handan, provincial capital Shijiazhuang and the city of Xingtai, are set to enforce emergency smog reduction measures from 6.p.m local time (1000 GMT) on Wednesday that will last until further notice, the Hebei Daily reported.

Under an orange alert, the second-highest warning behind red in China’s four-tier system, steel mills must halve their output, while coal-fired power utilities must operate at “minimum” levels.

The move comes after the country’s environment watchdog warned that smog was likely to blanket Hebei from Oct.31 to Nov.5 due to high temperatures and humid conditions.

The alerts mark the second wave of orange warnings issued by the region in the last two weeks.

The environment ministry at its regular briefing on Wednesday again warned of adverse weather condition this winter in northern and eastern China.

Reporting by Muyu Xu and Dominique Patton Editing by Joseph Radford

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