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Beijing shrouded in thick smog amid yellow alert for pollution
China's capital Beijing was shrouded in thick smog on Wednesday (November 14) amid a yellow alert for heavy pollution. The city's air pollution emergency response office issued on Tuesday (November 13) the first yellow alert for this winter, which is the least severe one in its newly updated three-tier warning system. The red alert is still the highest in its color-coded warning system, followed by orange and yellow, which is issued when the AQI (Air Quality Index) is forecast to exceed 200 for more than two days in a row. As of 12 p.m. (0400 GMT), Beijing's Environmental Protection Monitoring Centre reported the city's average AQI have reached 311, a level deemed "hazardous" on most scales. Pollution alerts are common in northern China, especially during winter when energy demand, much of it met by coal, soars. China said last month it will continue to switch residential households to natural gas heating this winter as part of the country's anti-air pollution campaign.