WorldSmog Vortex Takes Over Beijing (PHOTOS)The Daily Beast02.27.14WorldSmog Vortex Takes Over Beijing (PHOTOS)China's air pollution issues have gone from bad to worse as the country, home to more than a billion people, faces what has been described by some as "a nuclear winter." The Daily Beast02.27.14 10:45 AM ETLiu Chang/Legal Evening/ReutersBoth clad in masks, a man and his dog take a walk despite the heavy smog hitting China’s capital city of Beijing. The air pollution alert system has been raised to level “orange” for the first time. ReutersA residential compound barely clears the thick smog in Wujiaqu, China. Petar Kujundzic/Reuters As the air quality in Beijing as well as surrounding regions hitting dangerous levels, a Chinese national flag in front of the Beijing Telegraph Building still manages to be visible through the haze. Reuters Despite authorities introducing anti-pollution policies and pledging to clean up the environment, China’s acrid smog problem has not improved. This pollution crisis envelops entire cities, as can be seen here in the Shandong province. Kim Kyung Hoon/Reuters With smog continuing to be a serious problem for people like the man pictured here in Beijing, one person in China’s Hebie province has taken matters into his own hands by suing the government for failing to curb air pollution. Alex Lee/Reuters The view of the city below from the 70th floor of a skyscraper in China’s central business district in Guangzhou is barely visible thanks to a thick haze that has settled on the area. According to an emergency response plan on heavy air pollution, an odd-even ban on car use will be implemented during a red alert of air pollution, which means air quality index (AQI) exceeds 300. China Daily/Reuters One can’t help but wonder if this mask-wearing woman exercising outdoors in Fuyang, China, is doing more harm than good to her body? As hazardous air pollution has hit many parts of the country in recent days, China's environmental watchdog ordered greater efforts to issue early warnings for air quality. But that doesn’t appear to be keeping people from going about their normal routines. Jason Lee/Reuters Vehicles drive on Beijing’s Third Ring Road on a very hazy winter day in January 2013. Microscopic pollutant particles in the air have killed some 8,600 people prematurely in 2012 and cost $1 billion in economic losses in four Chinese cities, according to a study by Beijing University and Greenpeace. The study calls for pollution levels to be cut down to meet World Health Organization guidelines, which would reduce deaths by over 80 percent. China Daily/Reuters Heavy smog currently engulfs about 15 percent of the country in China, including Beijing where this child with a respiratory illness receives treatment in a hospital. China Daily/Reuters Merely crossing the street becomes dangerous as severe smog continues to shroud major cities in north-east China. Average visibility is less than 16 feet. Wei Yao/Reuters The air pollution levels in the sky over Tiananmen Square during the National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing are seen in this combination picture taken on the dates March 6-15 (L-R) in 2013. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang pledged the following day that his government would "show even greater resolve" in tackling China's festering pollution crisis, a source of increasing public fury. Air quality in Beijing has mostly stayed above "very unhealthy" and "hazardous" levels since the beginning of this year.