'Severe' air pollution spikes in Beijing

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 October, 2013, 6:48pm
UPDATED : Monday, 28 October, 2013, 7:06pm

Beijing’s air quality reached “severe pollution” levels on Monday morning as the city was blanketed with dense smog.

Air quality in central Beijing and southern suburban areas reached level-six and other areas reached level five on a six-level scale, according to the Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Centre, which described pollutions levels as “severe”.

US embassy measurements categorised air quality as “hazardous” with a PM2.5 level of more than 300 micrograms per cubic metre for most of Monday morning.

Beijing Meteorological Bureau said that visibility in certain parts of Beijing had dropped to less than 500 metres while China’s National Meteorological Centre on Monday morning issued a yellow smog warning, which is expected to remain in place until the evening, and advised people to wear masks and to avoid outdoor activities.

“High humidity levels and weak winds are preventing polluted air from dispersing,” China News Agency cited meteorologists as saying.

Beijing government last week introduced a series of strict emergency measures if PM2.5 levels exceed 300 micrograms per cubic metre for more than three consecutive days, in a bid to control rising smog levels.

Under the emergency measures, private vehicles will only be allowed to drive on roads on alternate days, school classes will be suspended, factories will be ordered to limit production, and construction sites must halt excavation and demolition work.