Beijing says fog not due to New Year fireworks

Chinese authorities have assured citizens that a heavy fog which blanketed Beijing this week, disrupting flights and closing roads, was not due to fireworks set off in Lunar New Year celebrations, Reuters reported on Thursday.

The fog cut visibility in the capital to several dozen metres on Wednesday, forcing the main international airport to cancel 190 flights.

It was the first time in over a decade that fireworks were permitted throughout Beijing, and some local media and Internet postings speculated that fireworks were responsible for the fog. "Setting off fireworks has increased polluting particles in the atmosphere," the First newspaper quoted unnamed experts as saying.

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