Pollution "worst on record" in Beijing: Greenpeace
SYDNEY (REUTERS) - Air quality in Beijing was the "worst on record" on Saturday and Sunday, according to environmentalists, as the city's pollution monitoring centre warned residents to stay indoors with pollution 30-45 times above recommended safety levels.
The Chinese capital, home to around 20 million people, has been wrapped in thick smog since Friday, reducing visibility and disrupting traffic.
Data posted on Sunday by the monitoring centre (www.bjmemc.com.cn) showed particulate matter measuring less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter (PM2.5) had reached more than 600 micrograms per square metre at some monitoring stations in Beijing, and was as high as 900 on Saturday evening.
The recommended daily level for PM2.5 is 20, according to the World Health Organisation. Such pollution has been identified as a major cause of asthma and respiratory diseases.