[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
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
Featured
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.
Public stripping and assault of woman and rival protests thereafter highlight Kenya's gender-relations divide.