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Beijing smog causes flight trouble

16 January 2012 09:08

Beijing has some of the worst pollution of any city in the world

Beijing has some of the worst pollution of any city in the world

Known to some as China's Big Smoke, Beijing's infamous pollution reached such high levels this week that more than 150 flights to and from the city's airport have been cancelled or delayed.

Official reports show that well over 100 flights arriving or departing from Beijing's Capital International Airport have been affected by a thick layer of smog lying over the city.

Despite the disruption to air travel, official data claims the air quality is still 'good'. However, the US embassy in Beijing (which publishes its own air quality figures) has said that it has not been able to measure the level of poisonous particles in the air at times because the proportions were so high.

The figures published on the embassy's Twitter feed showed pollution levels soaring past 500 on the Air Quality Index (AQI), the upper limit for the technology used. The AQI classes any reading over 150 as unhealthy, and any reading over 300 as hazardous.

Tourists travelling to Beijing, especially those with pre-existing medical conditions, are advised to check pollution levels before departing, and to arrange comprehensive travel insurance for their trip.