Smog in Beijing - level 3
Poor air quality is making breathing hard for residents in Beijing.
China's capital has been placed on special alert after dangerous smog reached its highest level for more than a year. Pollution has soared to 17 times higher than levels deemed safe by the World Health Organisation. As a result, highways have been closed, construction work has stopped and residents have been advised to stay indoors.
According to the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the choking pollution is caused by the "unfavourable" weather. Emissions in northern China soar during winter months as urban heating systems are switched on and low wind speeds mean that polluted air is not dispersed.
It comes as President Xi Jinping joins other world leaders in Paris for a critical UN conference aimed at agreeing a new global approach to climate change. China launched a "war on pollution" last year following a spate of smog outbreaks in Beijing and surrounding regions.
Difficult words: resident (a person who resides – lives somewhere), soar (to increase rapidly), deemed (considered), disperse (to spread over a wide area and disappear), spate (a large number of similar things that happen in a short period of time).
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