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Air pollution in China’s capital city reached dangerous levels yet again on Sunday, marking the third consecutive day of severe smog, municipal environmental authorities said.
Monitoring data released showed that air quality indexes in most regions of Beijing had hit 500 – the highest level.
Beijing has a permanent population of around 20 million people and some 5.2 million vehicles.
Outdoor sports activities for primary and middle schools were ordered to be halted from Sunday to Tuesday in extreme pollution areas, including Tongzhou, Miyun, Daxing, Mentougou and Fangshan districts, the municipal authorities said.
Work was suspended at 28 construction sites and 54 businesses reduced their emissions by 30 per cent, with Beijing Hyundai Motor Company halting production on Sunday, the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau said.
Municipal traffic authorities will be asked to limit government vehicle usage during smoggy days, with the goal of reducing it by 30 per cent compared to normal days.
The municipal environmental monitoring center said readings for PM2.5, or airborne particles measuring less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, had reached more than 700 micrograms per square meter at several monitoring stations in Beijing, reaching as high as 993 Saturday evening.
China’s meteorological authority has also issued a yellow alert for fog that continued to shroud the country’s central and eastern regions on Sunday.
The heavy fog has affected flights at airports in Beijing, Hebei, Hunan, Yunnan, Guizhou, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Jilin, Heilongjiang and Sichuan, with visibility reduced to around 100 meters at some airports.