It is no secret that Beijing is infamous for its high levels of air pollution. However, recent images taken from space from NASA released earlier this week showed just how worrying the situation has become. Even worse, the images were not even acquired when the city recorded its worst air quality index (AQI) score of 775 on January 12, two days before the images were taken.
For the record, a AQI score of 300 and above is considered hazardous to all humans, and the AQI score when the images were taken stood at an already-alarmingly-high 341. NASA even notes that the thick mass of smog had a “tinge of gray or yellow” as a result of the pollution. In contrast, the 2005 Southeast Asian haze reached a peak AQI of over 500 which was recorded at Port Klang, resulting in the government declaring a state of emergency in the area.
As a result, the Chinese government has warned residents of Beijing and its surrounding cities to stay indoors this month, and has urged factories to reduce emissions in an effort to curb the alarming pollution rate.