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Year’s worst pollution engulfs Beijing on Christmas

world Updated: Dec 25, 2015 12:54 IST
PTI
Air pollution

A resident wearing a mask walks along an alley amid heavy smog in Beijing, China, December 25, 2015.(REUTERS)

The Chinese capital Beijing was enveloped by this year’s worst air pollution with the smog level crossing the most hazardous mark on Friday, two days after a red alert for foul weather was lifted.

Beijing woke up to very hazy morning on the Christmas day with reading of the PM 2.5 the smallest and deadliest form of airborne particulate matter crossing 500, the maximum level on the US Embassy monitor.

The 500 reading regarded as the most hazardous, several times higher than the safe levels prescribed by World Health Organization, (WHO) and extremely dangerous to health. Weather officials said even though Beijing lifted the red alert for severe pollution on Tuesday, the capital city will remain in haze for a few more days.

Beijing issued the second red alert for heavy pollution last week when smog levels were not so severe. The pollution level since yesterday is far worse than during the red alert. The first ever red alert was issued early this month.

China has a four-tier warning system, with red as the most severe, followed by orange, yellow and blue. The Beijing municipal heavy pollution emergency response headquarters issued a blue alert for heavy pollution in the city Thursday, saying smog will hit central Beijing and southern suburbs last night. It called on residents in these areas to take protective measures. A cold front will disperse the smog Saturday, it added.

Roughly 50 cities in northern and eastern China have issued air pollution alerts in the most recent bout of smog.