Northern China is suffering from thick smog, probably due to having turned on its public heating system for the winter. The density of airborne particles below PM2.5 was several times above limits recommended by the World Health Organization, reports the BBC on Monday, Oct. 21. Visibility was so low – below 160 ft – that provincial highways, Taiping International Airport and some schools were forced to close down.
“We were all late for class today because we couldn't find the academic building,” said one social media user. Another described Harbin as “today's dead city.” People seemed to be handling the situation with good humor. China smog is not an unusual occurrence.
“Beijing, you're no longer alone. You have us too now,” one writer went on. Beijing is well-known for its severe pollution problems, especially in the winter.
WHO guidelines suggest average daily concentrations of PM2.5 particulate matter levels, used to measure the amount of particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometres in the air, should be under 25 micrograms/cubic meter. Instead, they were more than 500 micrograms as of early Monday morning, the local news agency reported.
All of the major highways were shut down, and bus services were closed. People were seen putting on masks before they stepped outside. A red alert has been issued for all the highways of of Heilongjiang province, due to the China smog.