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London's air pollution exceeded Beijing's

London's air pollution exceeded Beijing'sPollution levels in London were worse than in Beijing at points this week, The Independent said on Thursday.

The air in the Chinese capital is notoriously contaminated, but on Monday readings from the Air Quality Index showed particulate matter was concentrated at 197 micrograms per cubic metre in London, and 190 in Beijing.

It's the first time London has pushed higher than Beijing on this key measure, though nitrogen dioxide levels did spike higher in 2014.

As the English capital was choked by smog, pollution levels were particularly acute in the City, Westminster, Kensington and Camden.

Particulate levels in London have returned to a maximum of 108 in Kingston-upon-Thames, and around 100 in the centre of the city, while rates in Beijing have surged back towards the 300 mark.

These figures refer to PM2.5, or fine particles of dust smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter. They're produced by all types of combustion, from power plants and industrial processes to motor vehicles and residential wood burning.

This week, certain areas of London were put on "black" alert, the highest pollution warning level.

“The shameful state of London’s toxic air today has triggered a ‘very high’ air pollution alert under my new air quality warning system,” Mayor Sadiq Khan said in a tweet.

The weather at the moment is still and cold, meaning pollutants are not being dispersed. Last week, a cloud of toxic air produced by factories in Germany moved over London, combining with vehicular pollution from London's congested roads.
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