Cityscapes shrouded in thick smog have become a common scene in China. Last winter, Beijings ‘airpocalypse’ garnered headlines worldwide and generated much anger and debate within China. But this week, air pollution levels in the northeastern city of Harbin surpassed the previous record levels in Beijing. The city was essentially shut down after PM2.5, fine particulate pollution that is considered hazardous, reached levels of 1,000 micrograms per cubic metre 40 times the safety level recommended by the World Health Organisation. Schools, motorways and an airport were closed on Tuesday as visibility in some areas of the city dropped to less than 10 metres.
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