Air pollution in Beijing reaches hazardous levels

BEIJING (AP) - China's capital city of Beijing has been shrouded in thicker-than-usual pollution for several days, with air pollution indexes reaching dangerous levels.

Local authorities have warned that the severe pollution is likely to continue until Monday.

Monitors at the US Embassy in Beijing recorded air-quality readings as high as 481 on Saturday. The monitors measure the level of airborne PM 2.5 particulates with the maximum reading of 500. The tiny particular matters are considered the most harmful to health.

A reading between 301 and 500 means the air is so hazardous that people should avoid outdoor physical activities.

Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Centre has reported readings of the tiny particular matter of between 176 and 442 from its monitors throughout the greater Beijing area from Friday.