Effect of pollution: First ever red alert in effect in Beijing

Date: December 08, 2015

Particulate matter pm WHO

Beijing has issued its first ever “red alert” over the city’s smog, with the Chinese capital going into shutdown in an attempt to protect people from the deadly air.

It is the first time ever that the highest possible state of caution has been declared in the city, which has more than 21 million residents.

The warning means schools will have to close down and construction and other industry in the capital will be limited.

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China, the world’s biggest carbon emitter in recent times is grappling with the serious chronic problem of the air pollution leading to smog in cities. Most of the pollution is caused by the coal-fired power plants along with vehicle emissions, heating systems and construction and factory work.

The World Health Organization recommends 25 micrograms per cubic metre as the maximum safe level. The Readings of Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5 particles in Beijing also has climbed 300 micrograms per cubic meter which is far more than World Health Organization (WHO) permissible limit of 25 per cubic meter. PM2.5 are fine particles less than 2.5 microns in diameter that may occur naturally or from anthropogenic activities like human industrial processes. They often reach the lungs causing lifelong respiratory disease and may be fatal if it mixes into the bloodstream.