Fukuoka gears up for China’s smog cloud

Kyodo

The average daily amount of the toxic air pollutant PM2.5 was forecast to reach 42 micrograms per cubic meter in the city of Fukuoka on Friday, topping the national environmental standard of 35 micrograms, city officials said.

PM2.5, or hazardous particulate matter measuring below 2.5 microns, or 2.5 thousandths of a millimeter, in diameter is drifting from China and the Fukuoka Municipal Government is urging people with respiratory disorders to wear masks and citizens in general to be careful about air pollution.

This is the third time the daily PM2.5 level has been projected to top the allowable level since Feb. 15, when local governments began daily forecasts. The city of Fukuoka also projected the daily amount of PM2.5 would top the allowable level on Feb. 23 and on Tuesday.

Dense amounts of yellow dust from China were forecast to begin reaching Japan on Friday.

Due to PM2.5 and the yellow dust, visibility will be reduced to 6-10 km from Friday through Saturday, the city of Fukuoka said.

Fukuoka Prefecture said it would begin issuing an alert Saturday through its website if the if PM2.5 density is expected to rise.

The prefecture will issue the alert if the density looks to top the central government-set provisional allowable level of 70 micrograms per cubic meter.

The prefecture said it would urge citizens to refrain from doing strenuous outdoor activities if the PM2.5 density is projected to top the criteria based on data collected from 23 monitoring sites in the early morning.