BEIJING, April 14 (Xinhua) -- The Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) rated Beijing's air quality on Monday as "seriously polluted," issuing a blue-level alert, the mildest level.
According to the MEP, as of 10 a.m. on Monday, the average hourly density readings of PM2.5 -- airborne particles measuring less than 2.5 microns in diameter -- had reached 276 in Beijing, much higher than in the same period on Sunday.
Among the 39 cities under air quality surveillance, 10 had sustained excessive PM2.5 density as of 10 a.m. on Monday and three of them, including Beijing, Xingtai and Dongying, recorded PM2.5 density over 250, reaching a serious level of pollution.
The MEP forecast that weather during the following two days would not help diffuse pollutants. Beijing, Tianjin and parts of Hebei Province will sustain moderate to heavy pollution.