CHINA TOPIX

Updated 2:12 PM EST, Wed, Jan 29, 2020

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Beijing's Smog Pollution Worsens: School Children Told to Stay Indoors

Beijing smog pollution

(Photo : Kevin Frayer) On Monday, around 900 micrograms of PM 2.5 per cubic meter was recorded in the southern parts of the city. PM 2.5 are air particles that are less than 2.5 microns in size. The WHO safety limit is only 25 micrograms of PM2.5 per cubic meter.

Beijing's air pollution has gotten so bad this week that city officials have told school children to stay indoors. The capital has been on "orange alert" since Sunday due to the air pollution, which is 3,500 percent above the World Health Organization (WHO) safety standards.

The BBC reported that city authorities have ordered factories to either reduce or completely stop their their production and a truck ban has been imposed. Building constructions have also been temporarily halted in order to stop the further deterioration of Beijing's air quality. The smog has gotten so thick that visibility has been reduced to around half a kilometer or less in certain parts of the city.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping is currently out of the country attending the international conference on climate change in Paris, France.

Coal is being pinpointed as the main culprit behind the thick smogs enveloping the capital city. Winter has forced industrial and commercial establishments as well as private homes to increase their use of coal both in production and for heating. A majority of the country's power plants use coal.

A Chinese woman, identified as Yin Lin, told reporters that if city officials can not remedy the situation, she may consider living somewhere else. She was being interviewed while bringing her daughter to a medical facility. Air pollution has long been a major problem in Beijing and many Chinese cities. As a result, many local residents suffer from air pollution related illnesses.

On November 30, around 900 micrograms of PM 2.5 per cubic meter was recorded in the southern parts of the city. PM 2.5 are air particles that are less than 2.5 microns in size. The WHO safety limit is only 25 micrograms of PM2.5 per cubic meter.

The country's environmental regulators told reporters that out of the total 74 cities in China, around only eight of them still have air that is safe for humans. Most of the of the heavily air polluted cities are located in the Northeastern part of China.

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