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China Beijing Smog Emergency Measures

October 23, 2013 by  

China Beijing Smog Emergency Measures, Thick, choking smog enveloped cities in northeast China for a second day Tuesday, closing schools, airports, and highways, snarling traffic, and reducing visibility in some places to a few yards.

In the industrial city of Harbin, home to more than 10 million people, the PM 2.5 level of fine particulate matter in the air reached 1,000 micrograms per cubic meter in parts of the city Monday, 50 times above what the World Health Organization considers safe. It is the first major pollution emergency of the coming winter.

Vehicles crawled through the smog with fog lights on or emergency lights flashing. Buses were canceled and a major highway was closed, while hospital admissions soared by 30 percent, local media reported.

Visibility was so low in the city, about 780 miles northeast of Beijing, that two city buses got lost while plying their regular routes. Pedestrians wore masks or clutched their hands in front of their faces in an effort to breathe more easily.

‘‘I did not even dare to cross the street,’’ said Zhang Xiaofeng, a 24-year-old bulldozer driver who said his eyes hurt and he was coughing as a result of the smog. ‘‘I waited and waited at the intersection and looked again and again, but I couldn’t see if any cars were coming. Even the traffic lights were invisible.’’

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