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Despite China's ambitions and its efforts to build itself into a beautiful country, residents and travelers in Beijing have been subjected to excessively bad air quality in recent days.
For three consecutive days, up to Monday, Beijing was smothered in dense smog. The municipal environmental authorities said air pollution in the capital hit dangerous levels: readings for PM2.5, airborne particles measuring less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, reached more than 700 micrograms per cubic meter at some monitoring stations, and as high as 993 micrograms at others, on Saturday evening.
The problem was not limited to Beijing. PM2.5 readings have been exceeding safe levels recently at more than half of the monitoring sites in Beijing and its neighboring Tianjin municipality and Hebei province, according to the China National Environmental Monitoring Center.