The ecological environment bureau of Beijing has issued an orange alert for heavy air pollution, to take effect from Friday.
Unfavorable weather conditions, Lantern Festival fireworks and production resumption after the Spring Festival were blamed for the heavy air pollution blanketing Beijing and neighboring provinces from Wednesday to Sunday, the national weather bureau said.
A number of vehicles will be pulled off the street, outdoor construction suspended, some factories shut down, and fireworks and open-air barbecue prohibited during the warning period. Schools and kindergartens are suggested to stop outdoor activities.
The provinces of Hebei, Shanxi, Shandong, Henan and Shaanxi in eastern and northern China have issued orange or red alerts for heavy air pollution as of Thursday.
Under China's four-tier warning system for air pollution, red is the most severe, followed by orange, yellow and blue.