Hazardous smog hits Shanghai as China’s bad air spreads

Smog in Chinese metropolis Shanghai hit its highest level since January on Tuesday, prompting schools to ban outdoor activities and authorities to limit work at construction sites and factories as polluted air spreads around the country. It limited visibility and drove the city’s air quality index (AQI) above 300, a level deemed “hazardous” on most scales and which can have a long-term impact on health. Shanghai’s heavy smog arrived just a day before the city hosts the closely-watched World Internet Conference, which will include a speech by President Xi Jinping. Last week, hazardous pollution levels in Beijing triggered the capital’s first “red alert,” meaning vehicles were ordered off the roads, classes were canceled and heavy vehicles banned.

Because of (the smog) my kid often gets sick, often has a stuffy nose and a cough.

Valen Wang, 40, a full-time mother in Shanghai

The smog prompted Shanghai authorities to issue a “yellow alert,” the third-highest level warning, and to advise elderly, young and sick residents to remain at home, avoid outdoor activity and keep the windows closed. China’s pollution is causing a headache nationwide, with many rivers and lakes clogged with garbage, and heavy metals in the soil. Bad air sometimes causes flight delays. The heavy smog in Shanghai also comes as provinces to the north tighten pollution regulations for steel mills and cement plants, pushing production south.