Shanghai Warns Children to Stay Indoors on Heavy Pollution

Apr 17, 2014 5:57 am ET

April 17 (Bloomberg) -- Shanghai warned children and the elderly to stay indoors as haze covered the city and levels of PM2.5 rose to more than eight times the World Health Organization recommended range.

Smog levels started rising around noon today with the air quality index reaching 254 as of 5 p.m., signaling “heavy pollution,” the third worst in a six-tier warning system, according to the website of the city’s environmental monitoring center.

The level of PM2.5 pollutants was 204 micrograms per cubic meter. The WHO recommends exposures of no more than 25 over a 24-hour period for PM2.5, particles that are smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter and more dangerous to health than other particulate matter.

Premier Li Keqiang “declared war” on smog in a speech last month, vowing to shut coal-fired furnaces among other measures. Record levels of smog at the end of last year in Shanghai forced flight cancellations and prompted the government to order vehicles off the road. Levels of PM2.5 levels reached 602.2 on Dec. 6.