The severity of Beijing’s pollution level is nothing new, but recent smog levels have catapulted the issue to international attention.
According to BBC, the “red alert” has never been used in city prior to this, and is expected to last for more than three consecutive days. This is coming off the heels of China attending the climate change discussions in Paris, France.
“I just calmed my daughter down from crying because her preschool is canceled for the next three days,” wrote Erik Nilsson on Facebook.
“Within a minute I get an E-mail from European relatives cancelling their plans to visit because of the pollution. Founded flights, shut down highways, closed schools. We’ve endured this real-world post-apocalyptic existence long enough. This isn’t a way to live. It’s a way to live. It’s a way to die. This. Must. Stop.”
Reportedly, as of Tuesday morning, half of Beijing’s private vehicles will be ordered off the road and 30% of government vehicles will be garaged.
“People should to the best of their ability reduce outdoor activities,” said Beijing’s Environmental Protection Bureau on social media. “If you are engaging in outdoor activities you should wear a mask or take other protective measures.”
During the Paris discussions, China’s president Xi Jinping promised to take action on greenhouse emissions, which spikes during the winter due to coal burning for electricity and heat. ABC reports that China will reduce coal consumption by 100 million tons by 2020 and cut 60% of “major pollutants” from coal-fired power plants.