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World Health Organization declares Beijing smog a crisis Updated: 2014-02-26 21:54:03 KST

  World Health Organization declares Beijing smog a crisis
You can barely see it, but the city of Beijing is there
under a thick blanket of smog.
It's the sixth day in a row of hazardous pollution in the city --
and now the World Health Organization has called China's smog a crisis.

"We are very concerned. We have to see this as a crisis. A crisis means we have to take immediate action to protect ourselves."

Chinese environmental inspection teams have been dispatched to 12 factories nationwide and there are reports that authorities have shut down or fined certain factories for not following pollution regulations.

Pollution levels in Beijing are above 450 on an air quality index-- that's nine times the level deemed safe for humans.
Beijing has been under an "orange alert" since Monday -- the city's second-highest warning level.
Residents are being asked to wear masks or stay indoors and hospitals are reportedly crowded with patients suffering from respiratory problems.

"Children and older citizens are more susceptible to breathing problems and the smog makes people cough a lot, too."

If and when the pollution alert reaches the highest warning level, drivers will only be allowed on the road on alternate days based on their license plate numbers and schools will be shut down.
Meanwhile, meteorologists say that cold air coming from the north is expected to decrease smog levels in China starting Wednesday night, which could, in turn, also lessen the fine dust and smog coming into Korea.
Connie Lee, Arirang News.
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