For the past 12 hours, the so-called PM2.5 level (or China's new pollution threshold) has been above the "serious" level. Bear in mind this is the newly adjusted-upwards threshold that already far exceeds the WHO's health-threatening levels .
- BEIJING WARNS RESIDENTS TO AVOID OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES ON SMOG
- BEIJING MONITORING CENTER REPORTS `SERIOUS' AIR POLLUTION TODAY
Levels are officially "beyond index" today (with a peak at 613 so far compred to 500 "hazardous") and the streets are empty!
City’s air quality index reading near Tiananmen Square, putting it in category defined as “serious” pollution.
City warns residents to avoid outdoor activities
Reading of PM2.5 pollution near Tiananmen Square was 583 micrograms per cubic meter as of 6 a.m., with average reading in past 24 hours at 338, according to city’s air-monitoring website
NOTE: World Health Organization recommends 24-hour PM2.5 exposure of no more than 25
The widely followed @BeijingAir twitter account confirms just how bad it is on the ground. For those confused "Beyond Index" is a friendlier way of saying "Off The Charts"
Beijing's pollution beyond index at 600. Looks like no one wants to venture out in this. pic.twitter.com/jCbceuPH27 
— Neela Eyunni (@neelaeyunni) January 15, 2014