China's on red alert after smog reaches record high

China has issued its first ever red alert in Beijing related to smog levels, doing so as the levels of pollution in parts of China reach all time highs. According to a state run news organization, this is the first time China has had to issue a red alert in the city, which is the highest warning possible. In this case, the warning has been issued due to the anticipated high levels of smog set for coming days; presently, the smog levels right now are touch lower than they were last week. It is anticipated smog levels will reach severe levels for three or more days.

The red alert order is set to last from Tuesday at 7AM local time until noon local time on Thursday. During this time, cars will be limited to operating every other day based on license plate numbers. In addition, construction taking place in Beijing will be halted for those days, and schools in the city will be closed.

Photos show Beijing being swallowed in smog very quickly, progressing from blue skies to a gray thick haze across durations as short as a single day. Both a lack of wind and high humidity levels have helped contribute to the problem. Heating and industrial systems powered by coal and car emissions are also a large cause of smog.

The US Embassy in Beijing has reported that its air pollution monitor registers levels being 10 times higher than the recommended limit. In the past, China issued a smog red alert in the city of Nanjing back in December, and most recently it issued an orange alert in Beijing on November 30.