Pollution shuts down city in China - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Pollution shuts down city in China

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Courtesy: AP Courtesy: AP

The northern Chinese city of Harbin was effectively shut down Monday after suffocating in a dense soup of pollution.

Reuters reports the index for fine particulate pollution, or PM2.5, exceeded 1,000 in the city of 11 million people.  This level is well-beyond the hazardous threshold of 300 and, officially, "beyond index" – as the scale stops at 500.  The astonishing concentration of pollution is more than 40 times worse than the safe level (25) set by the World Health Organization.

"The smog not only forced all primary and middle schools to suspend classes, but shut the airport and some public bus routes, the official Xinhua news agency reported, blaming the emergency on the first day of the heating being turned on in the city for winter," Reuters says. "Visibility was reportedly reduced to 10 meters [30 feet]."

A stagnant weather pattern, characterized by sinking air, has allowed the toxic brew of pollutants to collect and stay put.  Strong high pressure literally surrounds northern China on three sides, shutting down any wind that might scatter the pollution and transport it out of the region.

Read the rest of this story from The Washington Post.

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