Far from abating with the onset of summer, China’s toxic skies are proving as choking as ever, with Beijing reporting record levels of PM2.5 pollution.
Although it is supposed to be the off season for pollution, “PM2.5” pollutant levels in the capital have been clocked at 520 micrograms per cubic metre near Tienanmen Square even according to official Chinese sources.
In contrast, the slash-and-burn smog which Indonesia so kindly exported to Singapore and Malaysia recently only resulted in a “hazardous” peak of 401μg in Singapore.
Japan, now suffering from Chinese smog exports as well as the regular kind, warns levels over 70μg are dangerous enough to justify staying indoors for, and Singapore says an N95 mask is essential when levels are over 40μg.
The US government says levels of 300-500 (it does not even mention levels over 500) mean “everyone should avoid all physical activity outdoors” and sensitive groups should “keep activity levels low” even indoors.