As you were tearing off the wrapping paper this morning, Beijing was waking up to the worst smog of the year, and a very different kind of white Christmas.
PM2.5 levels hit over 620 micrograms per cubic meter early in the morning, according to the American embassy. That was enough to force the airport to cancel 227 flights due to the limited visibility. Levels came back down to a mere 500 micrograms by the afternoon.
Unfortunately, this isn’t a rare occurrence for Beijing or China, which has seen the “airpocalypse” reach new and horrifying levels during 2015, on occasion closing schools and banning cars. China has responded with significant plans to close coal-fired power stations, but only time will tell if the government will put public health over strong GDP growth.
Image credit: AP