China warns people in its northern regions to stay indoors as air pollution in Beijing is averaging 18 times World Health Organization (WHO) recommended levels.

The concentration of fine particulates that pose the greatest risk to human health was 447 micro-grams per cubic meter near Tienanmen Square in Beijing. Compare that to an average of 456 over the past 48 hours, the Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center said on its website. The WHO recommends exposure to no higher than 25 micro-grams per cubic meter over a day.Green Halo China Smog Problem Air Pollution World Health Organization WHO

The smog adds pressure on the government to take measures beyond shutting steel plants and limiting the number of cars on the road to battle air pollution.

Beijing Mayor Wang Anshun declared an “all-out effort” to tackle air pollution by cutting coal use by 2.6 million metric tons and transforming 300 polluting companies this year, the official Xinhua News Agency reports.

Coal-burning boilers inside Beijing’s fifth ring road will be eliminated and measures taken against coal burning in the capital’s periphery, Xinhua said.

A rising number of Chinese cities have introduced emergency measures to counter smog amid increasing social unrest over the health effects of a spoiled environment.

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