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Photos: The smog that’s choking Beijing as it faces the worst pollution of 2016

A man wearing a mask for protection against pollution exercise at Ritan Park during a heavily polluted day in Beijing, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. Chinese cities are limiting the number of cars on roads and have temporarily shut down factories to cut down pollution during a national "red alert" for smog. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
AP/Andy Wong
A walk in the park with no fresh air.
By Echo Huang
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Beijing sent out its highest level of smog alert on Dec. 16 for the first time this year, suspending schools and restricting cars on the road while the city remains shrouded in a visible—and toxic—fog.

By 5 pm today (Dec. 19), Beijing’s PM 2.5, the fine particulate matter in its air, had reached 460 in some areas, according to the air quality index (AQI). The city’s 21 million citizens are wearing masks and staying indoors to protect themselves against these hazardous levels, which could have serious health effects and are expected to continue until Dec. 21.

The real time air quality map of Beijing as of 5 pm on Dec.19, 2016

Here are some images from a city living under a fog these last few days:

Reuters/Jason Lee
Vehicles drive on the 5th Ring Road during morning rush hour on the fourth day after a red alert was issued for heavy air pollution in Beijing.
Pigeons fly in heavy smog on Dec.19 in Beijing.
AP/Andy Wong
Parents with their children wait at a holding room of a children’s hospital on Dec. 18, 2016.
Reuters/Jason Lee
Artist Liu Bolin, wearing a vest with 24 mobile phones, live broadcasts air pollution in the city on the fourth day after a red alert was issued for heavy air pollution in Beijing—Dec.19, 2016.
AP/Andy Wong
People wearing masks for protection walk at Ritan Park in Beijing, on Dec. 19, 2016.
AP/Andy Wong
Chinese paramilitary police, wearing masks for protection, march in Beijing on Dec. 19, 2016.
Reuters/China Daily
People wearing masks stand roadside on a heavily polluted day in Beijing on Dec.17,2016.
EPA/Wu Hong
A man wears a mask while watching people play ice hockey on a frozen river on Dec.16, 2016.
EPA/Wu Hong
A haze hangs over downtown Beijing on Dec.16, 2016.

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