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Shanghai air lightly polluted as rain leaves

SHANGHAI'S air became polluted again today after yesterday's rain and wind from the sea stopped, causing the city's PM2.5 index to rebound from 20 micrograms per cubic meter at 3pm yesterday to 150 micrograms at 11am today.

The local 24-hour average of PM2.5 reading was 90.7 micrograms per cubic meter at 1pm today, compared with the nation's safe limit of 75 micrograms.

PM2.5 stands for airborne particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers, which are the main cause of urban smog and haze and are harmful to human health.

After four days of choking air pollution, the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau and other concerned departments held a news conference this morning, citing coal burning, vehicle and factory emissions, and wind-blown dust as the main sources of pollution. These pollutants hang in the air when it is windless.

Because north China has been experiencing extremely cold weather since December, heating by burning coal aggravated air pollution in cities like Beijing and Tianjin. The bureau said the condition would not improve until a cold front arrives tomorrow night.

Beijing has taken emergency measures to reduce health hazards caused by foul air. Schools in heavily polluted districts are asked to cancel outdoor activities and 30 percent of government vehicles are taken off the road.


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