BEIJING, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- The fireworks spree at Chinese traditional Lantern Festival on Sunday dragged Beijing's air quality to hazardous levels, figures show.
As of 7 p.m., the air quality indices (AQI) in the city proper stayed at Level V to VI, or the heavy to the severely heavy pollution, according to the data released by the Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center.
The city's weather forecast station at 4 p.m. issued a yellow alert, forecasting smog with the visibility of less than 3,000 meters in the next 12 hours.
Weather and environmental protection authorities advised residents to reduce fireworks, as the pollutant in the air was not easy to disperse in such weather.
Sunday marks China's traditional Lantern Festival, or the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. Sweet dumplings, lantern puzzles, dragon boat races, and fireworks are commonly seen across the country for the festival celebrations.
For air quality and safety concerns, Beijing has banned fireworks in the urban area, only allowing residents to let off them from the eve of the Spring Festival to the Lantern Festival.