[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific

Beijing hit with blanket of poisonous smog

Chinese capital engulfed with air pollution 26 times above levels considered safe by world authorities.

Last updated: 16 Jan 2014 07:45
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Air pollution reaches 26 times the World Health Organisation's safe levels [AFP]

Beijing has been enveloped by a dense grey smog as the capital experienced the season's first wave of extremely dangerous pollution, with toxic particles registering more than two dozen times the level considered safe.

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

"I couldn't see the tall buildings across the street this morning," said a Beijing traffic co-ordinator. "The smog has gotten worse in the last two to three years. I often cough, and my nose is always irritated. But what can you do? I drink more water to help my body discharge the toxins."

A monitoring post at the US Embassy in Beijing recorded pollution levels about 26 times higher than those considered safe by the World Health Organisation.

The city's air quality is often poor, especially in winter when stagnant weather patterns combine with an increase in coal-burning.

In recent years, China has beefed up regulations and pledged financial resources to fight pollution.

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

196

Source:
Associated Press
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
UNHCR says hundreds of people trapped in Yaloke town risk death if they are not evacuated to safety urgently.
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Featured
Long-standing dispute over Christian use of the word 'Allah' raises concerns about a very un-Merry Christmas.
The threat posed by ISIL has prompted thousands of young Kurds to join the PKK.
Baja California - with its own grim history of disappeared people - finds a voice in the fight against violence.
Russian feminist rockers fight system holding 700,000 - the world's largest per capita prison population after the US.
Weeks of growing protests against Muslims continue in Dresden with 15,000 hitting the streets last Monday.