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China pollution: First ever red alert in effect in Beijing

30Schools in Beijing are closed and outdoor construction halted as the Chinese capital’s first ever pollution “red alert” came into effect.
The alert, the highest possible warning level, was issued late Monday and will last until midday on Thursday.
Limits have been placed on car use and some factories have been ordered to stop operations.
It comes as China, the world’s worst polluter, takes part in talks on carbon emissions in Paris.
It is the first time China has declared a red alert under the four-tier alert system, which was adopted a little over two years ago, although pollution levels were far from the city’s worst.
At 07:00 local time on Tuesday (23:00 GMT on Monday), when the 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.
By 11:00 it had dropped very slightly to 250 – still a level it described as “very unhealthy”. Levels of the poisonous particles in the suburbs were reported at several times that number.
The World Health Organization recommends 25 micrograms per cubic metre as the maximum safe level.