Heavy Smog Shrouds Beijing for Third Day Before APEC Meeting

Beijing pollution hovered at hazardous levels for a third straight day, prompting more production curbs and warnings for people to stay indoors.

The concentration of PM2.5, fine particulates that pose the greatest risk to human health, was 364 micrograms per cubic meter at 10 a.m. near Tiananmen Square, the Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center said on its website. Levels reached as high as 454 yesterday. The World Health Organization recommends 24-hour exposure at concentrations no higher than 25.

The latest smog wave adds to pressure on the capital to take pollution-control measures -- similar to those used ahead of the 2008 Olympics -- when leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum gather in the city for an annual summit next month. Beijing will impose alternate-day driving rules, the official People’s Daily said yesterday, while employees of government agencies and departments will have Nov. 7-12 off. Public schools will also be closed.

Operations at 35 enterprises in the city were suspended due to pollution, Beijing Times reported today, citing people it didn’t identify. Primary and middle schools along with kindergartens were asked to stop outside activities, the newspaper said.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection has dispatched six teams to supervise an emergency anti-pollution plan in Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province, the official Xinhua New Agency reported yesterday.

Beijing and some areas of surrounding Hebei will have heavy air pollution in the 24-hour period from 6 a.m., the China Meteorological Administration said on its microblog. Tianjin city and other areas in Hebei, Shandong, Henan, Shanxi and Shaanxi are forecast to have medium pollution levels.

— With assistance by Feifei Shen

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