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Haunting Pictures Of The Chinese City Shut Down For Emergency "Smog Day"

The choking pollution from the smog is 40 times what the World Health Organization deems as safe.

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Thick smog virtually shut down a Chinese city of 11 million today, with schools and the airport both being closed.

Harbin, the capital of the Heilongjiang province, is said to have visibility of less than half a football field.

According to Reuters, "An index measuring PM2.5, or particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5), reached a reading of 1,000 in some parts of Harbin."

A level above 300 is considered hazardous, but the World Heath Organization recommends daily levels of no more than 20.

Local media reported that heavy smog affected most of the major cities in northeastern China on Monday morning.

A before-and-after photo taken in Shenyang in Liaoning province on Oct. 11 (bottom) and Oct. 21.
Sheng Li / Reuters

A before-and-after photo taken in Shenyang in Liaoning province on Oct. 11 (bottom) and Oct. 21.

Harbin before the smog:

A building by the Songhua River in Harbin.
aphotostory/aphotostory / Getty Images

A building by the Songhua River in Harbin.

And after:

A woman wearing a mask checked her cell phone in Harbin.
China Stringer Network / Reuters

A woman wearing a mask checked her cell phone in Harbin.

The Xinhua news agency blamed the emergency on many turning their heat on for the first time that season.

A traffic policeman signaled to drivers.
China Daily / Reuters

A traffic policeman signaled to drivers.

The smog is expected to continue for 24 hours.

A statue of China's late Chairman Mao Zedong.
Sheng Li / Reuters

A statue of China's late Chairman Mao Zedong.

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