Last updated: 10:59 PM ET, Sat November 28 2015

Beijing Air Pollution at Hazardous Levels

Impacting Travel | Michael Isenbek | November 28, 2015

Beijing Air Pollution at Hazardous Levels

Photo via Twitter/AbelBlancoZ

Travelers — especially those with sensitive respiratory systems — take heed, air pollution levels in China’s capital of Beijing and surrounding regions have reached hazardous levels, the Associated Press reported.

As the weekend began, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing “reported the level of the poisonous, tiny particles of PM2.5 at 391 micrograms per cubic meter,” according to the AP. Per, this stands for “particulate matter up to 2.5 micrometers in size,” about 100 times thinner than a human hair.

The safe level is 25 micrograms per cubic meter of these particulates, per the World Health Organization via the AP.

A gray smog has enveloped the city since Friday, holding visibility to a few hundred yards, the AP said, and The Ministry of Environmental Protection forecasted severe pollution for the greater Beijing region, the western part of Shandong province and the northern part of Henan province until Tuesday, when strong winds should disperse the miasma.

In the meantime the ministry has advised people to stay indoors, according to the AP. The news service said authorities have declared coal-burning winter fires used for heating as the culprit for the pollution — as well as illegal factory emissions in northern cities.

When the choking smog has visited in the past, authorities have shuttered factories and slashed vehicle usage in half to clear the air, but the AP calls these actions “disruptive,” saying that they “are used only when the government feels it needs to present a better image to the world, such as when China hosts major global events or leaders.”


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