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Capital's air takes a turn for the worse

(China Daily)

08:54, October 11, 2011

BEIJING - Although the air quality in Beijing on Monday was better than Sunday's, it was still among the most polluted in the country, monitoring data showed.

The Monday report on the country's air quality released by the Ministry of Environmental Protection ranked Beijing the fourth most polluted city in China.

The Sunday air quality report said the capital was the most polluted of the 120 cities monitored. The Air Pollution Index (API) in Beijing reached 159 on Sunday.

An API reading below 50 indicates "excellent" air quality, while 50 to 100 shows "healthy" air and above 100 means the air is polluted.

Air quality monitored by the US embassy in Beijing showed the air was "beyond index" between 8 pm and 9 pm on Sunday, while it was "unhealthy" on Monday.

Murky haze since the weekend has contributed to the capital's poor air quality, because there have been no winds to blow the pollutants away, Guo Hu, director of the Beijing Meteorological Bureau, told China Daily on Monday.

Rain predicted for Wednesday night should end this round of haze and smog, according to the bureau.

More than 95 percent of the capital's air pollutants are respirable particulates, Zhao Yue, director of the monitoring center of the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau, told Beijing News.

Zhao said no traffic control in Beijing during the National Day holiday and the restarting of many factories and construction projects also contributed to the bad air pollution.

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