Two tourists salute on the Tiananmen Square in heavy smog in Beijing, China, 16 January 2014. Beijings skyscrapers receded into a dense gray smog on Thursday (16 January 2014) as the capital suffered the seasons first wave of extremely dangerous pollution, with the concentration of toxic small particles registering more than two dozen times the level considered safe. The air took on an acrid odour and many of the citys commuters wore industrial strength face masks as they headed to work. The citys air quality is often poor, especially in winter when stagnant weather patterns combine with an increase in coal-burning to exacerbate other forms of pollution and create periods of heavy smog lasting days. But the readings early on Thursday for particles of PM2.5 pollution were the first of the season above 500 micrograms per cubic metre. The density of PM2.5 was about
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