Beijing said air quality will “improve noticeably” tomorrow as snow and rain was forecast for the Chinese capital today and pollution levels moderated.
The concentration of PM2.5, fine air particulates that pose the greatest human health risk, fell to 139 micrograms per cubic meter at 8 a.m. near Tiananmen Square from a 203 average in the past 24 hours, according to the city’s environmental monitoring center. The U.S. Embassy rated today’s air “very unhealthy” with a PM2.5 reading of 183. The World Health Organization recommends 24-hour exposure of no higher than 25.
A cold spell will bring precipitation to China’s northern and central regions from today through Feb. 2, dissipating fog in those areas, the China Meteorological Administration said on its website. Haze in those regions will also be reduced, the weather agency said.
The Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center gave today’s air quality the next to lowest rating on the city’s six- level scale, which includes a recommendation for children, the elderly and people with heart and lung conditions to stay indoors. The center forecast improved air quality tomorrow.
The city has shut factories and ordered some vehicles belonging to the government and state-owned companies off the roads as an emergency response to the pollution.
Beijing’s traffic management bureau caught more than 800 official cars breaking the ban, the Beijing Times reported today, citing Wu Dacang, a deputy director at the Beijing government’s general office. Relevant government departments will investigate the agencies that own those vehicles, the newspaper reported without citing anyone.
Beijing’s PM2.5 concentration have exceeded the WHO’s “healthy” limit every day this month, based on daily peak readings from the U.S. Embassy. The pollution levels were similar to that in an airport smoking lounge, based on comparisons with data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
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