On Monday, Beijing city authorities reported extremely dangerous levels of air pollution, which prompted a rare orange alert — the second highest of four danger levels.
Visibility was limited as thick black smog settled across the city. City residents complained of a pungent odor and many wore face masks, while schools suspended outdoor activities.
Beijing officials said the hazardous levels of pollutants in the air exceeded the 600 micrograms per cubic meter at monitoring sites throughout the city.
Outside of Beijing, some readings also remained high at a reported 976 micrograms — well outside of what the World Health Organization deems safe.
Although the city has recorded cleaner air than 2014, the smog remains a constant source of anxiety throughout the region.