A view of downtown Shanghai shows severe pollution. (Peter Parks, AFP)
Cape Town – A condensed 13-second timelapse clip taken over a mere 20-minute period, shows smog rolling into Beijing and gives us glimpse of the pollution problem in China’s capital city.
Chas Pope, a British engineering consultant currently working in Beijing, shot the video and posted it to social media, where it has since gone viral – and for good reason. “Bank of AQI400+ smog rolling into Beijing just now – within 20 minutes,” Pope wrote on Twitter on New Year’s Day.
An air-quality index released by China’s municipal environmental protection bureau, which measures potentially hazardous particles in the air, hit 482 just after New Year on Sunday, almost touching the 500 mark where the scale tops out, and far beyond the point deemed hazardous to health, according to the South China Morning Post .
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The publication labelled the smog pollution as being ‘off the charts’ and said that more than a dozen other cities including Tianjin and others in neighbouring Hebei and Shandong provinces also saw smog return to dangerous levels.
The clouds of smog have forced flights to be cancelled and roads to be closed and have effectively left some people trapped in their homes. Elsewhere in the northern hempishere, flights were also cancelled due to heavy fog.
Take a look Chas Pope’s timelapse of Beijing here:
The US embassy in Beijing also issued its own warning of air pollution in the capital, labeling it as “hazardous”.
“Everyone should avoid all physical activity outdoors,” a warning accompanying the reading warns. “People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should remain indoors and keep activity levels low. ”
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