Beijing city government has issued a red alert for severely high levels of air pollution in the city.

The alert will apply for three days from December 17 to 21, according to a post on the Beijing environmental protection bureau’s official Weibo account.

The incoming smog is due to an accumulation of air pollution in Beijing and surrounding areas, including Tianjin city and Hebei, Shandong and Hunan provinces, the post says, citing forecasts from the China Environmental Monitoring Center.

A colour-graded warning system of alerts was introduced in China’s capital city last year as part of the government vow to crackdown on environmental degradation following decades of unbridled economic growth.

Beijing’s first ever red alert was issued in December last year, temporarily closing schools and halting construction in the city.