Worst smog of the year hits Beijing

The heaviest smog of the year blanketed the Chinese capital Friday on the eve of the country's annual parliament. 

The level of fine particulates hit the "hazardous" level of 452 micrograms per cubic metre overnight, according to the air quality index (AQI) by the US Embassy, and was at 405 micrograms at the time of writing. 

The maximum safe level is 25 micrograms, according to the World Health Organization. 

After relatively good air quality in January and February, the bad air returned just ahead the National People's Congress, which is expected to begin its yearly session on Saturday.

Beijing issued its first red smog alerts in December when the AQI hit 500, under a colour-coded system implemented in 2013.

The four-tier warning system has red as the most severe, followed by orange, yellow and blue. But last month, China made it harder to trigger a red alert. 

The highest alert will only be issued when the daily average AQI is forecast to exceed 500 for a day, 300 for two days in a row or 200 for four days, according to the official Xinhua news agency. 

The AQI on Thursday was over 300 on the index for the entire day.

Heavy smog is common in the winter months in northern China, where coal is widely used.  

Last update: Fri, 04/03/2016 - 07:31
Author: 

Related

Heavy smog returns to Beijing

World

Friday, December 25, 2015 - 12:03

China smog shuts motorways, cancels flights

World

Monday, January 2, 2017 - 12:53

More from World

Netanyahu wants to discuss Iranian threat with Trump

Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu wants to coordinate future Iran policy with US President Donald Trump, he wrote...

Gambia's new president to establish commission to investigate Jammeh

Gambia's new President Adama Barrow said Saturday he plans to establish a commission to investigate potential...

US to attend Syria peace talks in Kazakhstan as observer

The US will attend Russia-Turkey sponsored peace talks on the conflict in Syria next week, the State Department said...

Hundreds of thousands rally for Women's March on Washington

Hundreds of thousands of women have begun to rally ahead of a march in Washington in opposition to President Donald...

Tunisian leader tells Islamists not to fear Trump

The leader of Tunisia’s main Islamist movement, Rachid Ghannounchi, said Saturday that Islamists should not be...