Air pollution in Beijing reaches hazardous levels

Jan 12, 2013

Air pollution levels in China's notoriously dirty capital were at dangerous levels Saturday, with cloudy skies blocking out visibility and warnings issued for people to remain indoors.

warned that the severe pollution was likely to continue until Tuesday.

The Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center has reported air-quality indexes between 176 and 442 from its monitors throughout the greater Beijing area since Friday. The index indicates the level of airborne PM 2.5 particulates, which are tiny particular matters considered the most harmful to health.

The air is considered good when the index is at 50 or below, but hazardous with an index between 301 and 500, when people are warned to avoid outdoor physical activities.

Monitors in Beijing reported air quality indexes above 300 on Friday, and the center's real-time reports showed Beijing remained heavily polluted Saturday, with the indexes at or approaching 500 at 5 p.m. from some monitoring stations.

A warning scrolled across the monitoring center's website on Saturday said that the density of PM2.5 had reached 700 micrograms per cubic meter in many parts of Beijing and that the was expected to linger for the next three days.

Monitors at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing recorded an off-the-chart air-quality reading of 728 as of 4 p.m. Saturday and said the PM2.5 density had reached 845 micrograms per cubic meter.

Readings are often different in different parts of Beijing.

According to rules issued by the city government in December, all outdoor sports activities are to stop and factories have to reduce their production capacity if Beijing's official air-quality index exceeds 500.

Air pollution is a major problem in China due to its rapid pace of industrialization, reliance on , explosive growth in car ownership and disregard to environmental laws.

In Beijing, authorities have blamed foggy conditions and a lack of wind for the high concentration of .

Several other cities, including Tianjin on the coast east of Beijing and southern China's Wuhan city, also reported severe pollution over the last several days.

Explore further: New study charts the fate of chemicals affecting health and the environment

4.3 /5 (6 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Beijing to give clearer indication of air quality

Oct 07, 2012

(AP)—Beijing authorities have completed a network of monitors that will more accurately measure air quality in the smog-ridden city after being pushed into it by public pressure and pollution reports from the U.S. embassy.

'Off the scale' smog grounds flights in Beijing

Jan 10, 2012

More than 150 flights to and from Beijing were cancelled or delayed on Tuesday as a thick cloud of acrid smog shrouded the city, with US figures saying the pollution was so bad it was off the scale.

Beijing air pollution off the charts, US says

Feb 21, 2011

Thick smog blanketing Beijing went "beyond" measurable pollution levels on Monday, the US embassy said, as a Chinese official warned people to stay indoors and avoid outdoor activities.

Beijing hits 'blue sky' target despite bad air

Dec 18, 2011

Beijing authorities said they had met their target of "blue sky" days for 2011, amid growing public criticism that officials are underplaying the pollution problem in the Chinese capital.

Recommended for you

Alpine lifelines on the brink

1 minute ago

Only one in ten Alpine rivers are healthy enough to maintain water supply and to cope with climate impacts according to a report by WWF. The publication is the first-ever comprehensive study on the condition ...

Research that holds water

41 minutes ago

Water is a vulnerable resource coming under increasing pressure in many parts of the world. The Research Council of Norway is providing funding to a number of research projects seeking to solve challenges related to the supply ...

Pharmaceuticals and the water-fish-osprey food web

15 hours ago

Ospreys do not carry significant amounts of human pharmaceutical chemicals, despite widespread occurrence of these chemicals in water, a recent U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Baylor University study finds. ...

User comments : 0