Beijing suffered its worst air pollution of the year on Monday, with monitoring sites throughout the city reporting extremely hazardous levels of pollutants.
City authorities issued a rare orange alert, the second-highest of four danger levels. Schools suspended outdoor activities and polluting factories were required to reduce production.
Visibility was cut to several hundred yards, as buildings receded into thick smog. People complained of a smoky, pungent odor, and many wore tight-fitting face masks.
“I felt like my lungs were blocked,” said Xu Pengfei, a security guard at an office building in downtown Beijing. “We have to stand in the open for...