China’s weather office has said “foggy and hazy” conditions are prevalent in the capital Beijing, the megacity of Tianjin, and parts of the provinces of Hebei, Shandong and Hubei, home to more than 100 million people in total.
Many of Beijing’s 22 million residents donned face masks on Wednesday morning as they snaked through streets shrouded in a gray haze.
The pollution in some areas has been classified as “severe” and has at times lowered visibility to less than 50 meters (164 feet).
Beijing has experienced five days with “unhealthy” pollution levels in the last week, compared to just three such days in the past three weeks, air quality monitoring firm IQAir’s data showed.
IQAir said Beijing was the third most-polluted major city on Earth on Wednesday, just ahead of Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka.