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City gets hit with heavy smog but conditions improving

Heavy smog permeated Shanghai this morning, though the bad air was predicted to ease on Tuesday.

Tiny PM2.5 particles were the main pollutant, the accumulation of which started on Sunday evening. According to the Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center, the pollutants were brought to Shanghai by a cold front from the north, which affected most cities in the Yangtze River Delta region.

The density of PM2.5 started rising in Shanghai on Sunday afternoon, with most observation stations reporting "slightly polluted" air. The situation worsened about 4am today, and the air quality index reached a high point of 261 at 10am, with the density of PM2.5 reported to be over 200 micrograms per cubic meter. The recommended national limit is 75.

The accumulation of local pollutants like those from motor vehicle emissions during morning commute hours combined with the bad air from the north, according to the environmental monitoring center. The pollutants settled mostly within 500 meters of the ground.

Despite the visible haze, the city's air improved after noon. By 1pm, the districts of Yangpu, Huangpu, Xuhui and Qingpu remained moderately polluted while other areas were reported to be slightly polluted. The average AQI was 149, or slightly polluted, at 1pm.

Other cities in the Yangtze River Delta also suffered from poor air. AQI readings were reported to be over 190 in cities including Suzhou, Nantong, Taizhou and Wuxi in Jiangsu Province, as well as Huzhou in Zhejiang Province.

The cold front also brought today's high temperature down to 15 degrees Celsius. Tuesday to Thursday are forecasted to be a mix of sun and clouds, with showers holding off until Friday, when the high temperature should be about 19 degrees.


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