Some Beijing residents have been warned to take precautions after air pollution readings reached dangerous high levels.
Beijing’s skyscrapers were covered into a dense gray smog, as the capital saw the season’s first wave of extremely dangerous pollution.
The readings indicate that the concentration of toxic small particles were two dozen times the level considered safe by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Thick smog reduced visibility to a few hundred meters.
Local authorities advised employees to wear protective masks, while kids and the elderly were encouraged to stay indoors.
Poor quality of air
The city’s air quality is often poor, especially in winter when stagnant weather patterns combine with an increase in coal-burning.
WHO guidelines state that average pollution particles, known as PM2.5, should be no more than 25 micrograms per cubic meter. But the latest official readings showed more than 500 micrograms per cubic meter.
After widespread criticism from the public and the media, local authorities pledged to do more to address air pollution.