When it comes to air pollution, Beijing isn’t the most polluted city in the world, but its air is often a smoggy cocktail of carcinogens that blot out the sun and cause breathing issues for millions. China’s capital has seen the concentration of PM2.5 (particulate matter with a diameter of less than 2.5 microns) soar off the charts. It exceeded 945 micrograms per cubic meter on 11/29/15. On December 8 Beijing declared its first ever Red Alert, losing schools and stopping all outdoor construction. Traffic was also curtailed. Beijing's air quality was more than 300 times the national safety level for the PM2.5 that is set as a concentration of 75 micrograms per cubic meter.
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Below are articles on a recent blanket of smog that threaten Beijing's 20 million inhabitants. The mayor’s election promise to clear up Beijing air to lose his head is looming large on his political horizon. The editorial calling for blue skies is remarkable in its willingness to assign blame to the local government.