China's capital Beijing, under fire to take effective measures against air pollution, raised its four-tiered alert system to "orange" for the first time on Friday, as heavy smog was forecast to roll into the city over the next three days. Related Stories
The orange level, the second highest, advises schools and kindergartens to cancel outside sports classes, but falls short of ordering school to close and keeping government vehicles off the road, provisions which come into force with the "red" level.
The alert was raised after the Beijing government faced criticism from state media and on the Internet for failing to act against high pollution levels last weekend.
State news agency Xinhua said that the city had dispatched inspectors to factories around the capital, warning that those found breaching emission rules would be fined.
The capital was already shrouded in smoky, white smog by Friday afternoon. Data from the U.S. embassy put levels of PM2.5 particles, those measuring less than 2.5 micrometers across and the most noxious form of air pollution, at 378.