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Posted:  |  Updated: 10/21/13 EDT

China Smog Photos Show How Bad Its Air Pollution Problem Has Become

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China has a serious smog problem. So much so that the northern city of Harbin, home to about 11 million people, was forced to cancel classes, close down the airport and suspend certain bus routes Monday.

According to The Associated Press, fine particulate matter readings taken in Harbin indicate that air pollution in the area is 40 times higher than the international safety standard set by the World Health Organization.

While visibility in the capital of the Heilongjiang province was less than 50 meters (164 feet), Harbin was not the only city in the region affected by smog. In the southeastern city of Shenyang, some 300 miles from Harbin, a heavy haze partially obscured a 75-story skyscraper from view. (Head over to The Daily Beast to see a comparison to a normal view of the landmark.)

Air pollution has been an ongoing problem in the country, with thick and heavy smog often forcing local governments to suspend transportation services and shutter businesses. Earlier this month, China announced that it would offer millions in rewards to regions that could successfully reduce air pollution levels.

See photos that illustrate the extent of air pollution in Harbin in the series (courtesy of Getty) below.

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A policeman gestures as he works on a street in heavy smog in Harbin, northeast China's Heilongjiang province, on Oct. 21, 2013. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

china smog

A man cycles in the smog in Harbin, northeast China's Heilongjiang province, on Oct. 21, 2013. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

china smog

Buildings are barely visible in heavy smog in Harbin, northeast China's Heilongjiang province, on Oct. 21, 2013. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

china smog

A woman wearing a mask uses her mobile phone in the smog in Harbin, northeast China's Heilongjiang province, on Oct. 21, 2013. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

china smog

Streets and buildings are seen under heavy smog in Harbin, northeast China's Heilongjiang province, on Oct. 21, 2013. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

china smog

A man pushes his bike onto a bridge under heavy smog in Harbin, northeast China's Heilongjiang province, on Oct. 21, 2013. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

china smog

A woman wearing a face mask walks in heavy smog in Harbin, northeast China's Heilongjiang province, on Oct. 21, 2013. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

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  • Top 10 Most Polluting Countries

    In the following slides, find the top 10 countries with the greatest carbon dioxide emissions in 2011. Figures are estimates from the <a href="http://edgar.jrc.ec.europa.eu/overview.php?v=CO2ts1990-2011&sort=des9">Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR)</a>, a joint project of the European Commission and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. (Photo Getty Images)

  • 10. United Kingdom

    Estimated 2011 CO2 Emissions in metric tonnes: 470 million (Photo Getty/AFP/MIGUEL MEDINA)

  • 9. Indonesia

    Estimated 2011 CO2 Emissions in metric tonnes: 490 million (Photo Getty/AFP/ROMEO GACAD)

  • #8 - Canada

    Estimated 2011 CO2 Emissions in metric tonnes: 560 million (Photo MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

  • #7 - South Korea

    Estimated 2011 CO2 Emissions in metric tonnes: 610 million (Photo CHOI JAE-KU/AFP/Getty Images)

  • #6 - Germany

    Estimated 2011 CO2 Emissions in metric tonnes: 810 million (Photo JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • #5 - Japan

    Estimated 2011 CO2 Emissions in metric tonnes: 1.24 billion (Photo YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images)

  • #4 - Russian Federation

    Estimated 2011 CO2 Emissions in metric tonnes: 1.83 billion (Photo KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • #3 - India

    Estimated 2011 CO2 Emissions in metric tonnes: 1.97 billion (Photo ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

  • #2 - USA

    Estimated 2011 CO2 Emissions in metric tonnes: 5.42 billion (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

  • #1 - China

    Estimated 2011 CO2 Emissions in metric tonnes: 8.7 billion (Photo PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images)

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Filed by Sara Gates  |