A city chokes under a blanket of smog. (Photo/Xinhua)
Nanjing, the capital of China's eastern Jiangsu province, has been shrouded in noxious smog for much of January as residents witness the historic city's worst ever air quality, reports the local Yangtse Evening Post.
Jiangsu's most polluted city, Nanjing has already officially clocked 22 days with unacceptably polluted air since the beginning of the month, making its target limit of just 44 such days for the whole of 2013 seem certain to be overshot.
The current "orange" level —the third level on a six level scale on the city's air quality index— is expected to remain in place until the beginning of next month, with relief still at least a week away, according to environmental protection advocates. Four monitoring stations in the city are reporting heavy pollution and another five are at medium. The city's pollution index reached its highest level ever recorded at 11am on Monday.
The city's environmental bureau and related authorities have strengthened their examination of exhaust emissions, with vehicles which failed to meet emission standards being impounded.
Fewer than 1% of China's 500 largest cities meet the World Health Organization's minimum air quality standards.