Northern Chinese brace for smog spike as winter heating kicks in
--FILE--Tourists wearing face masks take photos in front of St. Sophia Church in heavy smog in Harbin, northeast Chinas Heilongjiang province, 22 October 2013. Harbin — a metropolis in Chinas northeastern reaches — made international headlines last month when it experienced air pollution so abysmal that the government closed all schools and officials urged the citys 11 million residents to stay indoors as visibility dropped to just 10 meters, roughly the width of a typical traffic intersection. Unsurprisingly, the smog-pocalypse hit one day after the city activated its coal-fired public heating system, a key factor for the smoggy weather, according to the state-run news agency, Xinhua. On Friday, Beijings own public heating system will kick in, bringing warmth and, most likely, a precipitous drop in the capitals already compromised air quality. A report in the Be
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