Beijing, China – Air pollution is so high that Beijing ordered all government cars off the road. On Wednesday, the Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center said the density of PM2.5 particulates had surpassed 700 micrograms per cubic meter in many areas of the city. The World Health Organization considers a safe daily level to be 25 micrograms per cubic meter. Hoping to ease the air pollution, government officials in Beijing ordered government vehicles off the road as part of an emergency response to ease pollution.
PM2.5 are tiny particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometers in size or about 1/30th the average width of human hair. The particulates can go deep into lugs. The Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center recommends all elderly an children stay indoors. People have been flocking to hospitals complaining of heart and respiratory ailments.
Ding Rongjing, deputy head of cardiology at Peking University People’s Hospital toldBloomberg Business Week:
“The number of people coming into our emergency room suffering heart attacks has roughly doubled since Friday when the air pollution became really severe.”
Li Yan, Beijing-based head of Greenpeace East Asia’s climate and energy campaign also told Bloomberg Business Week:
“Pollution levels this high are extreme even for Beijing. Although the government has announced efforts to cut pollution, the problem is regional and to fix Beijing’s problem, we also have to fix industrial pollution in neighboring regions like Hebei and Tianjin and even as far as Inner Mongolia.”
The U.S. Embassy also publishes data for PM2.5. The hourly reading in a 24-hour period up to 10 a.m. Sunday said readings were “beyond index,” according to CBS News. The PM2.5 density was 886 micrograms per cubic inch.
The air quality in Beijing started getting bad Thursday. The smog warning is in effect until January 16.