32 killed on China's smog-hit roads

Eight people were killed and dozens injured when up to 30 vehicles were involved in a pile-up in central Henan province today, the China News Service reported, while seven died in an accident in neighbouring Anhui province.

At least 17 people were killed and more than 20 injured yesterday when a passenger coach hit a cement truck in thick fog in Jiangsu Province in eastern China, Xinhua news agency said.

The State Meteorological Bureau issued a health warning over the heavily polluted air, advising motorists to cut their speed."The fog and smog has resulted in a sharp drop in air quality that can impact health. Residents need to take appropriate measures to protect themselves," the bureau said.

Eleven provinces and regions, including the capital Beijing, were affected, it said, with visibility reduced to 100 metres in some areas.

China suffers from some of the worst air pollution in the world, with its high dependency on coal and a growing number of automobiles largely to blame for increasing environmental degradation.

As the world's largest coal user, China's more than 1,400 coal-fired electrical plants produce at least 375 million tonnes of coal ash every year -- 2.5 times the quantity in 2002, Greenpeace China said last month.

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