Authorities in Beijing have advised residents to stay indoors as pollution soars to hazardous levels, 15 times more than what is considered safe by the World Health Organisation.
The burning of coal required for winter heating has been blamed as a major culprit for the air pollution which has shrouded the city in grey smog since Friday, reducing visibility to no more than a few hundred meters.
The ministry of environmental protection has forecast severe pollution for the greater Beijing region, as well as the west part of Shandong and the northern part of Henan until Tuesday, when strong winds from the north are expected to blow away air pollutants.
11-28-2015 12:00; PM2.5; 391.0; 428; Hazardous (at 24-hour exposure at this level)
— BeijingAir (@BeijingAir) November 28, 2015
At noon on Saturday, the US embassy in Beijing reported the level of the poisonous, tiny articles of PM2.5 at 391 micrograms per cubic metre. The World Health Organisation considers the safe level to be 25 micrograms per cubic metre of the particulates.
The blanket of thick smog comes just as the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau announces plans to implement the “world’s strictest emissions standards” by December 2017.
The new standard, which is desperately needed in the capital, would cover light vehicles, heavy vehicles and heavy motors. The bureau estimates that pollutants emitted by vehicles will be cut by up to 30 percent by 2022.
— George Chen (@george_chen) November 27, 2015
[Image via @george_chen]