Beijingers were warned to stay indoors on Thursday as pollution levels across the capital hit the top of the scale, despite repeated assurances by the government that air quality was improving.
“This is as bad as it can get,” a spokeswoman for the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau told AFP.
“Level five is the worst level of air pollution. This is as bad as it has been all year.”
According to the bureau’s website, 15 out of the 16 pollution monitoring stations in urban Beijing registered a “five” for air quality rating.