16 January 2019

WHO warns Beijing of air pollution health toll, WSJ says

The World Health Organization (WHO) called on China to improve its air quality and urged residents of Beijing to stay indoors as the capital city suffered a sixth day of hazardous-level air pollution Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported. Bernhard Schwartländer, the organization’s China chief, was quoted as saying that he is concerned about the smog that has smothered Beijing in recent days. The WHO has been in contact with national authorities to discuss the problem and steps toward solving it, he said. As of Tuesday night, levels of tiny, hazardous particulate matter known as PM2.5 averaged 452 micrograms per cubic meter in Beijing over a 24-hour period, more than 18 times the WHO’s recommended level, the report said. WHO officials said the pollution poses a threat to human health.

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