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Chinese capital gripped by air pollution for 6th day

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People pay visit to the Temple of Heaven in Beijing on February 24, 2014.

Air pollution strikes unhealthy levels in the Chinese capital Beijing for the sixth day in a row, prompting warnings for people to stay indoors.

On Tuesday, officials said the gray smog that has been covering the sky in much of six northern provinces could last until Friday.

Since last Friday, an orange alert — the second-highest warning level — has been issued in the capital.

Chinese scientists say the toxic air pollution is similar to a nuclear winter, a potential threat to food supply in the country.

He Dongxian, an associate professor at China Agricultural University’s College of Water Resources and Civil Engineering, said the situation is “somewhat similar to a nuclear winter,” adding that the air pollutants stick to greenhouse surfaces, which would diminish the amount of light inside by about 50 percent, severely impeding photosynthesis.

Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping made an unannounced visit along with some other Chinese officials to a trendy alley in the capital where he spent some time with residents.

Pollution levels in Chinese cities in recent years have risen due to increased car ownership and growing industrial production.

In July 2013, China announced it would spend 1.7 trillion yuan, or 277 billion dollars, in a bid to tackle air pollution. The vast sum of money is planned to be invested over a period of five years.


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