0CFE69074D054EC786164AC7D52B6357
USA

WeatherBug® Your Weather Just Got Better™

Change Units: °F  | °C

Weather News

USA

Beijing Air Pollution At Dangerously High Levels

January 16, 2014

By The Associated Press

Enlarge

BEIJING - Beijing`s skyscrapers receded into a dense gray smog Thursday as the capital saw the season`s first wave of extremely dangerous pollution, with the concentration of toxic small particles registering more than two dozen times the level considered safe.

The air took on an acrid odor, and many of the city`s commuters wore industrial strength face masks as they hurried to work.

The city`s air quality is often poor, especially in winter when stagnant weather patterns combine with an increase in coal-burning to exacerbate other forms of pollution and create dayslong periods of heavy smog. But the readings early Thursday for particles of PM2.5 pollution marked the first ones of the season above 500 micrograms per cubic meter.

The density of PM2.5 was about 350 to 500 micrograms, and had reached as high as 671 at 4 a.m. at a monitoring post at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. That is about 26 times as high as the 25 micrograms considered safe by the World Health Organization, and was the highest reading since January 2013.

Serious air pollution plagues most major Chinese cities, where environmental protection has been long sacrificed for the sake of economic development. Coal burning and emissions from automobiles have been major sources of pollution. In recent years, China has beefed up regulations and pledged financial resources to fight pollution.

In the far northeastern city of Harbin, some monitoring sites reported PM 2.5 rates of up to 1,000 micrograms per cubic meter in October, when the winter heating season kicked off.

In December, dirty air gripped the coastal city of Shanghai and its neighboring provinces for days, with the density of PM 2.5 exceeding 600.

Beijing authorities said the haze on Thursday has reduced the visibility to several hundred meters (yards) and that the severe pollution is likely to continue through Friday.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

--

Story Image: A tourist takes photos during a heavily polluted day on Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014. (Alexander F. Yuan, AP)

What do you think of this story?
Click here for comments or suggestions.

Recent Stories:

News submitted by WeatherBug users

Backyard Blog

News, observations and weather commentary

Photo Gallery

View images of recent storms and seasonal weather.

User Videos

WeatherBug community news and weather videos.

Weather Groups

Discuss severe weather and regional storm activity.

Featured Cameras

Live Camera from a random camera within the United States
View live images and time-lapse video animation from local WeatherBug weather cameras.

WeatherBug Featured Content

Green Living

Green Living

You too can help save our planet and put money back in your wallet. Learn how you can take the first steps to reduce your environmental impact, including driving green, easy ways you can conserve water, and energy saving tips. To learn more and discover the benefits of going green, visit WeatherBug’s green living section. More >

Sponsored Content