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Heavy smog shrouds over 30 N. China cities

BEIJING, Dec. 21 — China's environmental authority revealed on Sunday that Beijing and over 30 cities in the north of the country are currently shrouded in heavy smog.

The smog area around Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei and neighboring regions, which stretched across 560,000 square km on Saturday, has expanded to cover 660,000 square km on Sunday, said the Ministry of Environmental Protection, citing satellite remote sensing readings.

Over half of the 70 cities in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region are affected by heavy or serious pollution, it said.

The ministry said the smog is likely to linger till Tuesday and is expected to ease from Wednesday.

Beijing has issued a red alert, the most serious level in the four-tier color-coded pollution warning system, for the smog, limiting vehicles on roads and banning fireworks and outdoor barbecue. Tianjin and some other cities issued orange alert. (PNA/Xinhua)

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