6 December 2013, 16:06

Shanghai smog reaches extremely hazardous levels

Shanghai smog reaches extremely hazardous levels

Shanghai authorities on Friday halted all construction work and ordered children indoors as China's financial hub suffered one of its worst-ever bouts of air pollution. Officials, who also reduced bus service by a third and cancelled a number of flights to and from Shanghai airport, issued an official warning via the city council website.

The city's concentration of harmful fine (PM 2.5) particles reached 602.5 micrograms per cubic metre on Friday, a metric which is 24 times as high as the level considered tolerable by the World Health Organization.

Medical experts warned that the current levels of air pollution could increase the risk of stroke and heart disease, as well as potentially causing respiratory problems, birth defects and cancer.

Shanghai residents took to Weibo - a Chinese internet platform similar to Twitter - to express their concern.

"I hardly dare to breathe," one user wrote. Shanghai has been plagued by high levels of air pollution for a number of days, after air masses carried industrial emissions from its neighbouring provinces - Jiangsu and Zhejiang - to the industrial hub. Meteorologists said that the weather was partly responsible for the lingering air masses in the city, adding that the current bout of air pollution would likely continue until the end of the week.

Voice of Russia, DPA

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