BEIJING  – While the world came together for COP21, Beijing came to a halt as China issued the first ever pollution “red alert”for its capital city  Following the “red alert” issues on Monday, schools were shut, while factories and outdoor construction in Beijing came to a standstill, and it remained so until mid-Thursday. Restriction was also imposed on car usage.

China, the country that happens to be the world’s worst polluter, is now facing pollution-related crises throughout the country. While this happens to be the first time that China has declared a red alert under its four-tier alert system that was adopted two years earlier, this definitely isn’t the worst that Beijing has seen.

On the day that the red alert came into effect, the US Embassy’s air pollution monitor in Beijing reported that the intensity of the tiny particles known as PM 2.5 was at 291 micrograms per cubic metre. Levels of the poisonous particles in the suburbs were reported at several times that number.

It is important to note that the World Health Organisation recommends 25 micrograms per cubic metre as the maximum safe level, which means that the level recorded in Beijing was 50 times that of WHO recommended levels.

On November 30, Beijing issued an orange alert – the second-highest of the four-tier system adopted in 2013.

The Global Panorama