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Snow, cold winds to end Beijing’s smog

IANS | Beijing |

The Beijing weather forecast bureau said on Saturday that snow followed by cold winds will clean up the air this weekend.

Snow fell in many parts of the Chinese capital on Saturday morning and is expected to last into the night, bringing a bit of relief from the smog that has persisted since the last day of 2016, Xinhua news agency reported.

"Because the snow absorbs pollutants, it is dirty," meteorologist Guo Jianxing said. "People should carry umbrellas if they walk outside and quickly brush off any snow that falls on their skin."

According to the city's air quality surveillance centre, with the exception of northwestern Beijing, the capital remained "seriously polluted" as of 1 p.m. on Saturday. The density of PM 2.5 — tiny pollutant — was 178 micrograms per cubic meter.

The weather bureau said gusts of cold wind, a major force to dispel the smog, will start to arrive on Sunday from the north.

It said Beijing's heavy air pollution will be eased and finally cleared from north to south. At worst, only very light smog will linger in a small portion of the city, it added.

The smog has become north China's biggest environmental issue in recent years, particularly in winter, when coal-fired heating boilers rev up and the wind weakens. Despite drops in pollution indicators, smog still occurs frequently.