Beijing Orders Official Cars Off Roads to Curb Pollution

Beijing ordered government vehicles off the roads as part of an emergency response to ease air pollution that has smothered China's capital for the past three days, while warning the smog will persist until Jan. 16.

Hospitals were inundated with patients complaining of heart and respiratory ailments and the website of the capital’s environmental monitoring center crashed. Hyundai Motor Co. (005380)’s venture in Beijing suspended production for a day to help ease the pollution, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Official measurements of PM2.5, fine airborne particulates that pose the largest health risks, rose as high as 993 micrograms per cubic meter in Beijing on Jan. 12, compared with World Health Organization guidelines of no more than 25. It was as high as 500 at 6 a.m. today. Long-term exposure to fine particulates raises the risk of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases as well as lung cancer, according to the WHO.

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