BEIJING, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- More Chinese cities suffered from air pollution on Sunday as the capital Beijing maintained a pollution alert at the second-highest level, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said on Monday.
According to satellite remote monitoring by the ministry, polluted air shrouded about 980,000 square km of central and eastern China on Sunday, with some 800,000 square km heavily polluted, including Beijing and the provinces of Hebei, Shanxi and Liaoning.
Heavy air pollution was monitored on Sunday in 50 of 161 cities that have begun using the new standard of air quality monitoring, 16 cities more than on Saturday, the ministry said. Of the 50 cities, 11 were "severely polluted," one more than on Saturday.
Beijing and part of its neighboring Hebei Province suffered most.
The ministry forecast that the pollution in Beijing and its neighboring regions will last until Thursday, when a cold front is expected to disperse it.
Also on Monday, the ministry reported malpractice by Hebei's enterprises after environmental inspections.
The malpractices included improper operation of pollution control equipment, abnormalities in monitoring, dust exposure, waste burning and illegal emissions.