FILE - In this Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016, file photo, a woman uses a scarf to cover her mouth for protection against the air pollution as she walks on a street in Beijing, China. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)
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Residents of China's capital awoke Saturday to dense, choking smog after many set off a barrage of fireworks overnight to ring in the Lunar New Year, despite limits and public admonitions against such displays in the congested city.Although state-owned Xinhua reported that purchases of fireworks fell 4.9 percent in Beijing this year, the measures weren't enough to avoid a spike in pollution from healthy to hazardous levels in a matter of hours.Dispersal of the pollution largely depends on weather conditions, with two cold air fronts likely to help reduce pollution in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region through to Wednesday, the environmental ministry said, before conditions deteriorate again and potentially lead to another heavy bout of pollution.
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