As of midday today, air pollution in Beijing has hit outrageously high levels, with the city’s air quality index (AQI) hitting 895 due to a sandstorm enveloping the city.
The AQI takes into account five main pollutants, including particulate matter, ground-level ozone, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. A reading over 300 indicates “hazardous” conditions that will affect the entire exposed population.
While China’s capital is well known to have a smog problem, today’s abnormally high readings are the result of both local pollution and a sandstorm moving in from the northwest of Beijing.
Last month one of the country’s best known investigative journalists, Chai Jing, unveiled a controversial documentary exploring the causes of China’s air pollution and its impact on the population. After being viewed over 150 million times it was taken down by censors.
By Dominic Jackson