Beijing’s smog crisis idles factories, boosts travel

(From AP)

Factories in Beijing that make goods from cement to train cars were shut down Tuesday to help ease the Chinese capital’s pollution crisis. But it was a boon for some businesses, boosting sales of air purifying equipment and travel to escape the haze.

Beijing schools close as city issues first smog red alertSnack stands promoted sales of pear and pomegranate juices, a traditional remedy for lung problems, as the impact of traffic and other restrictions rippled through Beijing’s economy, which at $340 billion is bigger than many countries.

Half the cars in this city of 20 million people were ordered off the streets. Facilities in cement, petrochemicals and other industries were told to close or reduce operations after pollution soared to many times safe levels.

Beijing Building Materials Group, a major producer of cement and other materials, closed several factories, according to an employee of its public relations department. He declined to give his name or other details.

A factory operated by a unit of CNR Group, one of China’s biggest producers of railway cars, suspended paint spraying and other work, according to a city government statement.

City inspectors set up 650 video cameras to watch construction sites and confirm they obey dust-control rules, the statement said.

Travel companies saw an uptick in demand as some residents left Beijing on “smog holidays.” Read More

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