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January 29 2013

Beijing Told to Stay Inside Today as Pollution Blankets the City

Beijing warned the city’s 20 million people to prepare for at least another day of smog, as officials closed some factories and ordered government cars off the road after pollution hit hazardous levels.

Visibility was reduced to a few hundred yards in downtown Beijing and online sellers of face masks reported “overwhelming” demand today. A U.S. Embassy pollution monitor showed that air quality reached hazardous levels for the 18th day this month.

Pollution levels have remained high after hitting record levels on Jan. 12 and Beijing officials later proposed new rules aimed at improving air quality. Chinese state media have warned that the smog could threaten the country’s economic growth and raises questions about policies that sacrifice the environment for the sake of development.

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