04:36 GMT +324 September 2017
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    A woman waits for a bus below a skyscraper shrouded in smog on a heavily polluted day in Beijing on December 1, 2015

    Beijing Students Kept Indoors as Smog Alert Raised

    © AFP 2017/ GREG BAKER
    Asia & Pacific
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    Chinese authorities ordered primary schools and kindergartens in Beijing to keep students indoors as heavy smog engulfs the capital, local media said on Monday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) On Sunday, China increased its pollution alert to orange, the second highest of four levels, South China Morning Post reported, with the air pollution reading rising by 40 percent on Monday.

    Concentrations of hazardous particulate pollutants reached 274 micrograms per cubic meter on Sunday, reports said, with World Health Organization's safe level set at 25 micrograms. On Monday, concentrations reached 500 micrograms per cubic meter in some parts of Beijing, according to the Air Quality China app.

    Smog is expected to shroud Beijing until early Wednesday, according to the city's environment bureau. Industry was ordered to reduce production or shut down and public transport has been reduced, the Shanghai Daily reported.

    China's extended use of coal for power generation has caused Beijing, as well as other cities, to suffer from PM2.5 pollution, which consists of suspended particles 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter. The particulate matter can cause asthma, bronchitis and exacerbate other acute respiratory diseases leading to premature death, according to the United States Environmental protection agency.

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