China’s capital has issued a red alert for air pollution for the first time ever, with a heavy cloud of dangerous smog blanketing the city. The massive blanket of pollution that’s currently covering much of China can be seen from space by NASA satellites.
The unprecedented red alert is the most serious warning level on a four-tier system that was introduced in 2013.
Until the red alert is lifted school lessons have been cancelled, outdoor construction has been shut down, and some industrial plants have also been closed. In addition, half of Beijing’s privately owned cars will be forced off the roads, with locals being permitted to drive on alternate days depending on whether they have odd or even numbers on their licence plates. Up to 30 percent of government vehicles will also be parked.
“People should to the best of their ability reduce outdoor activities,” cautioned Beijing’s Environmental Protection Bureau on social media. “If you are engaging in outdoor activities you should wear a mask or take other protective measures.”
Last week’s dangerously high smog levels hit 20 times the designated “safe” limits set by the World Health Organization.
One resident said, “I’m already indifferent, it’s all a gas chamber anyway.”