The Chinese capital has been smothered in thick, foul-smelling smog for the past few days, the first pollution spike in 2013.
Air quality ratings for the city have ranged between “very unhealthy” and “hazardous” since Thursday, according to @BeijingAir, a twitter account run by the US embassy in Beijing.
The account regularly posts air pollution readings from monitors installed on embassy grounds in downtown Beijing.
As of 10am on Friday, the monitors showed a PM2.5 fine-particle pollutants reading of 377 and an ozone level reading of 419.
By comparison, the 9pm readings for PM2.5 and ozone in Hong Kong’s Central/Western region, among the most polluted on the island, were 60.7 and 20.8 respectively, according to the website of Hong Kong’s Environmental Protection Department.
Similar levels of heavy pollution were reported for cities across northern China on Thursday, with Hebei province, which surrounds Beijing, being the worst hit.
“It is expected that air pollution in Beijing will remain heavy during the day time today… people are advised to stay indoors as much as possible,” China’s state TV quoted Beijing’s environmental protection centre as saying.
However, the pollution doesn’t seem to have caused any major disruptions at the Capital International Airport in Beijing.
The airport’s website showed that since yesterday most inbound flights have landed on time or with only minor delays. Beijing-bound flights from Hong Kong International Airport also seem to be mostly on time.