The “airpocalypse” of smog swirling over Chinese cities has reached its most dangerous levels yet. Beijing issued its first-ever red alert today, closing schools and taking cars off the road. How bad is it? According to EPA guidelines levels are at 6: “Everyone should avoid all outdoor exertion.”
Thick smog over Shenyang, a large city in northeastern China, sent air pollution in the city last weekend to levels about 50 times higher than what’s considered safe by the World Health Organization (WHO). That level of pollution puts the health of everyone in the city at risk, experts say.
Air pollution is rarely a major concern for most people in Western Europe. You seldom notice it except when sitting in heavy traffic or when it obscures the far horizon at a scenic spot.
The layer of thick smog that blankets many of China’s cities is not just making residents sick, it’s also causing premature death. Up to 4,000 people a day are dying due to China’s air pollution.