October 19, 2018 / 8:40 AM / a month ago

Ten cities in China's Hebei issue smog alerts, including top steel producer

BEIJING (Reuters) - Ten cities in China’s northern Hebei province, including top steelmaking city Tangshan, have issued second level or “orange” pollution alerts, forcing industrial plants to cut output.

The alerts would be effective from Friday to Monday, the Hebei government said in a statement.

Heavy industrial plants in the province will need to reduce production by at least 20 percent under an orange alert.

Tangshan has ordered steel mills in the city to reduce output of their sintering machine and shaft furnaces by half, while coke plants will have to extend their production period in order to reduce toxic emissions.

All mining and casting activities will also be shut down during the alert, Tangshan said.

Smog alerts came after China’s environmental watchdog warned of an expected smog in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region from Oct. 20 to 22 due to adverse weather conditions.

Tangshan on Thursday rolled out production cuts for winter for its 36 steel producers which analysts say look less restrictive than last year, potentially keeping output high.

Reporting by Muyu Xu and Vincent Lee; Editing by Manolo Serapio Jr.

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