BEIJING, Feb. 27 -- Drizzle and wind finally provided a breath of fresh air for Beijingers on Thursday after a week of heavy smog shrouded the city.
Beijing removed its orange alert for heavy air pollution at midnight on Wednesday.
A strong cold front that reached the capital on Wednesday night meant the air quality on Thursday was "good", according to Beijing environmental protection center. The air quality index at monitoring stations in downtown Beijing stood at 18 at 11 a.m.
Yao Hui, deputy chief of the municipal environmental protection bureau, was relieved when the orange alert was finally lifted.
Environmental officials like Yao were tormented by the smog, which was raised from a yellow alert to orange as air pollution soared.
Beijing has a four-tier alert system, using blue, yellow, orange and red to indicate the air pollution level.
"The worse the air quality was the more anxious I became. It is not just the smog but the public's expectations for cleaner air," Yao said.
Xu Wenshuai, senior engineer with the municipal Environment Monitoring Center, was also relieved.
For the past week Xu had to track data at the city's 35 PM2.5 monitoring stations.
"My heart beat faster every t