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article imageBeijing air pollution hits dangerous levels (Video)

By Anne Sewell     Jan 14, 2013 in Environment
Beijing - Residents in Beijing are being recommended to stay indoors by local authorities, as the air pollution goes way over the permissible levels.
According to the Beijing Municipal Environment Monitoring Center, the levels have been increasing since Friday in many parts of the city.
On the center's website, the warning states that the density of PM 2.5 had reached 700 micrograms per cubic meter in many parts of the city. This polluted air was expected to linger for around three days.
Air is considered to be good when the index is at 50 or lower and hazardous with readings between 301 and 500, so a reading of 700 micrograms per cubic meter is really hazardous to health. People have been warned to avoid outdoor physical activities.
Lack of wind and foggy conditions have been blamed by the city's authorities for the high concentration of pollution.
China's state TV quoted the environmental protection center on Friday as saying, “It is expected that air pollution in Beijing will remain heavy during the daytime today… people are advised to stay indoors as much as possible.”
According to government rules, issued in December, when Beijing's official air-quality reading goes over 500, all outdoor sports activities must cease and factories have to reduce production.
According to a Twitter account run by the US embassy in Beiing, air quality ratings have ranged from "very unhealthy" and "hazardous" since last Thursday, to "beyond index" on Saturday afternoon, with monitors reportedly recording off-the-chart air-quality readings as high as 845 at 8pm on Saturday.
Tweet on the US Embassy Beijing s Twitter account
Tweet on the US Embassy Beijing's Twitter account
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The fast pace of industrialization in China is believed to be the major cause of air pollution, on top of the country's reliance on coal power and the growth in car ownership. Many residents of Beijing suffer from respiratory problems, as the city is often covered with a dense smog.
Severe pollution has been reported in several other Chinese cities, including Tianjin and southern China's Wuhan city.
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