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City air quality worst in 4 years

SHANGHAI yesterday experienced its worst air quality in more than four years as sand carried from storms in the north of the country created grey, dusty conditions in the city. Weather forecasters said wind and rain expected over the next couple of days would help disperse the pollution, which stood at the highest level in a scale of five, but that it would still affect the city. In terms of the amount of inhalable particulate matter, yesterday's air quality was the worst since April 2, 2007. The level then was the worst in the previous seven years. Except for downtown Huangpu District, all Shanghai districts and Chongming County recorded "heavy air pollution," the highest level in the five-level measurement scale used locally to assess air quality. Medium level air pollution was recorded in Huangpu District. Tomorrow, pollution levels are predicted to fall to the second highest level. The environmental watchdog still advised locals to keep windows shut and minimize the amount of time spent outdoors. It said people who are physically weak or suffer from respiratory problems should wear face masks outdoors. In the coming days, winds will come from the east and south, said the city meteorological bureau. "This means there should be no more pollutant particles brought to the city from the north," said an official with the weather bureau. Temperatures should be mild, gradually increasing over the next four days until Friday. The lowest temperatures will be between 13 and 16 degrees Celsius and the high between 18 to 24 degrees, according to yesterday's forecast. The weather is set to be cloudy with showers.

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