1. This was the view from an observatory tower in Beijing on Thursday.

Kim Kyung Hoon / Reuters

According to the South China Morning Post, the US embassy recorded an air quality index reading of 545 during the afternoon; any reading over 300 is said to be “hazardous”.

An average reading of 430 was also recorded by Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau, marking the worst smog the Chinese city has suffered so far this year.

2. Time magazine said visibility in the city was expected to fall to as little as 500 metres.

Kim Kyung Hoon / Reuters

3. Beijing has been on a “yellow alert” regarding its pollution since the weekend.

Kim Kyung Hoon / Reuters

The alert is the third highest level in a four-tier system, the South China Morning Post explained.

4. Smog in the Chinese capital tends to be worse in the winter because the demand for electricity for heating increases, AFP reported.

Kim Kyung Hoon / Reuters

6. Thursday’s conditions were blamed on calm weather failing to disperse the pollution, AFP said.

Kim Kyung Hoon / Reuters

7. Earlier this month, the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau reported that air pollution in the capital actually fell slightly in 2014.

Kim Kyung Hoon / Reuters

8. However, it still averaged 85.9 micrograms per cubic metre, which is over three times the recommended limit.

Kim Kyung Hoon / Reuters

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