Beijing Pollution Off the Charts—Again
On scale that goes to 500, it registers 526
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Jan 29, 2013 6:52 AM CST
A child laughs as she passes by a smog-shrouded residential district in Beijing Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013.   (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

(Newser) Once again, air pollution in Beijing is literally off the charts. It's gotten so bad that airlines have had to cancel flights as locals wear face masks for protection, and state news says it's difficult to see beyond 100 yards in sections of eastern China. Airborne particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers has hit 526 micrograms per cubic meter, the US embassy says. That's "beyond index" (the scale goes to 500), and more than 20 times what the World Health Organization calls safe, the AP reports.

The government has closed 103 factories and cut its vehicle use by 30%, Reuters adds. Over the past two weeks, pollution levels have largely held to dangerous numbers; the WHO says anything above 20 isn't healthy, while above 300 is "hazardous." It's a particularly bad time for flights to be canceled, with travel peaking around the Chinese New Year on Feb. 10.

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Feb 10, 2013 10:24 PM CST
Now what do they have to say about Environmentalists? Will they still call them "tree huggers" and other silly things? Even in light of this? Anyone who wants the world to have less pollution or animals to not suffer is crazy, right?
Feb 4, 2013 1:21 PM CST
Ironically, I knew this was going to happen since the government is corrupt and does not give a rat's behind about pollution. As China industrialized just like American did, America has seen it's own consequences of it's industrialization. Promoting a greener earth is only going to happen when every country tries to "clean up" their own country. You tree huggers need to go to China and protest.
Jan 31, 2013 7:23 AM CST
Move UN headquarters there!