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See China's cities with and without the choking smog

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China smog NASA Wikimedia commons
China smog NASA Wikimedia commons

Since the beginning of 2013, Beijing's notoriously high pollution levels have been even higher, forcing people to remain indoors, grounding flights, and causing widespread health problems. The city's air quality was measured as "Beyond Index" on January 12th, according to the US embassy. In an interactive photo essay, The Atlantic illustrates just how bad the situation really is by letting you flip between photos of Chinese cities with and without the dense clouds of pollution. China's government will begin monitoring the pollution problem more closely next year, but state media reports that the results may not be released to the public for another three years and the country's coal consumption continues to rise.