Heavy smog shrouds Beijing

CNC report from Beijing
Added On January 13, 2013

Dense smog continues to shroud the Chinese capital Beijing.

Environmental authorities say pollutions are at dangerous levels and residents are advised to stay indoors.

Cloudy skies...poor visibility...and warnings from environmental authorities -- Stay indoors and go out only when necessary...

According to the Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center, the city's air pollution has remained at dangerous levels for a third straight day on Sunday.

Monitors say air-quality indexes stay beyond 176 throughout Beijing since Friday. The reading in parts of the city shot over 900 on Saturday evening and remained at 500 on Sunday morning. Air quality is considered good only when the reading is below 100.

The index indicates the level of airborne PM 2.5 particulates, which are tiny particular matters small enough to deeply penetrate the lungs.

The municipal environmental warning center has issued an alert, advising the elderly, children, and those suffering respiratory or cardiovascular illness to avoid going out or doing strenuous exercise.

Those who have to venture out should wear facemasks for protection.

Monitors say foggy conditions and a lack of wind have contributed to the high concentration of air pollutants.

The bad weather not only affects people's health, but also disrupts traffic...

SOUNDBITE (CHINESE) SUN JISONG, BEIJING OBSERVATORY:
"Visibility is poor and the bad weather will have a big negative impact on traffic. Beijing itself and the surrounding areas are all shrouded in heavy smog. Many highways will be closed for safety reasons. And air traffic will also be affected."

Apart from Beijing, east and central China have also reported severe pollution for the past few days.

In provinces like Shandong and Jiangxi, dozens of highways are closed and about 100 flights have been canceled or delayed due to heavy smog.

And the bad weather won't go quickly.

Monitors say weather conditions are preventing the pollutants from dispersing and that such bad weather will last for at least another two days.

The Beijing municipal government started monitoring the tiny airborne particules last year. It's vowed to cut down the levels by 15 percent and the overall air pollution levels by 30 percent by 2015.

But with weather like this, it seems to be an uphill battle.