China had some of the worst smog of all time in December. That’s because the smog was about the only thing that you could see. It was so bad that they postponed or cancelled hundreds of flights around the country. A group of activists organized a demonstration and did this in Chengdu.
There was a good chuckle from the local authorities. A lengthy cough followed. And then the riot police were called in. The last part isn’t a joke. And it’s not entirely the riot police’s fault in this situation. Those street artists who cover themselves in spray paint and haunt tourist sites around the world evidently believed the sculptures were.
Fortunately, in Xi’an, where pollution masks appeared on stone lions – 800 of them – there was no such doubt.
Fortunately, the issue was finally solved by China’s Meteorological Administration. Local offices were notified to stop issuing smog warnings immediately, and to begin calling it “fog.” They have even fined windows for spreading misleading pollution rumors.
In China, smog or “fog” is not a new phenomenon by any way. The nation has crippling outbreaks on a daily basis. And PM 2.5 particles are the worst form of smog. These are the small particles that can cause cancer and get into your lungs. On a scale of zero to 500, China tests this form of pollution. It surpassed 1,000 in the northeastern city of Harbin in 2013. The safe standard recommended by the World Health Organization is 25.
Fortunately, by raising the threshold for what constitutes a red warning, the great and glorious Communist Party is taking action to ensure that these red alert emission situations do not keep happening. And also to order monitoring apps for air quality to not show readings past the official cutoff point of the government. I mean, Chinese people really don’t want to know what they’re inhaling, do they?