08:43 GMT +322 October 2019
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    Pedestrians wear masks on a polluted day in Beijing on November 30, 2015

    Beijing Air Pollution Reaches Critical Level, 19 Times Over Norm

    © AFP 2019 / FRED DUFOUR
    Asia & Pacific
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    The concentration of tiny PM2.5 particles in the air in the Chinese capital of Beijing reached a critical mark, according to the Real-time Air Quality Index.

    BEIJING (Sputnik) — Air pollution levels in the Chinese capital of Beijing reached a critical mark, exceeding the norm by a factor of over 19, the Real-time Air Quality Index showed on Monday.

    The concentration of tiny PM2.5 particles in the air, mostly toxic organic compounds and heavy metals capable of penetrating lung tissue, exceeded 580 micrograms per cubic meter in several Beijing districts. According to the World Health Organization, the safe level of particulate matter of up to 2.5 micrometers in size is estimated to be less than 25 micrograms per cubic meter.

    The city has been enveloped in a thick cloud of extremely hazardous smog since Friday. On Saturday, the level of PM2.5 particles increased to over 300 micrograms per cubic meter.

    On Sunday, the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection announced that over 30 cities in the provinces of Hebei, Shandong and Shanxi recorded hazardous air pollution level. Authorities recommended citizens to remain indoors.

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