09/01/2017 12:28 GMT | Updated 09/01/2017 12:37 GMT

Scale Of Beijing's Smog Crisis Revealed By Journalist's Photograph


If you thought London’s pollution crisis couldn’t get any worse, take a look at this terrifying photo from Beijing.

Captured by CNN’s Jim Sciutto, it shows smog covering all but the tips of the tallest skyscrapers in the Chinese capital.

Beijing has been beset with smog problems for years, but over the last few weeks it’s been so bad it’s grounded flights, shut factories and stopped traffic.

One of the causes of the heightened pollution is the burning of coal fires over winter months.

The country is highly dependent on the fossil fuel, but more than 700 coal and other industrial plants have been forced to cease production over the last few weeks as smog levels soar.

Meanwhile, thousands of residents have fled to south China after a red alert, the country’s highest pollution warning, was issued in December.

In total, 460 million people in northern China have been affected by the crisis, which extends far beyond Beijing’s borders.

Smog is especially dangerous as it contains a particulate matter that gets trapped in people’s lungs, causing breathing difficulties and even lung disease.

Another video posted to Twitter at the start of the year shows it rolling in across the city in just 20 minutes.

Back in September, the World Health Organisation revealed that 92% of the Earth’s population is exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution.

In 2012 alone, more than 16,000 Brits are estimated to have died due to conditions associated with pollution.

Last week, campaigners called for diesel cars to be banned in London after the city’s annual legal limit on air pollution was breached five days into 2017.

The mayors of Paris, Madrid, Mexico City and Athens have already pledged to ban diesel cars and trucks by 2025

H/T Business Insider.