China’s pollution issues have received intense coverage by the media in the last few weeks as dangerous levels of smog have covered the capital Beijing twice.
The Beijing city government advised residents to remain inside on the worst days of the smog as the pollution was deemed to be at a “severe” level.
Citizens who did leave their homes wore face masks in an attempt to avoid breathing in the heavy pollution.
The smog appeared in the first weeks of the country’s six-week holiday period. Universities and schools had recently closed as millions of people travelled across the country to visit family for the Lunar New Year. China’s Lunar New Year sees the world’s largest seasonal migration of people and took place on the 10 February.
Air China had to cancel a number of domestic flights due to the heavy smog while an airport in the city of Qingdao to the east had to close.
Chinese multi-millionaire entrepreneur Chen Guangbiao began giving away free cans of “fresh air” to people in Beijing, whilst shaking hands and signing autographs.
Guangbiao claims to be China’s “number one environmentalist” and made his millions by recycling materials from demolished buildings.
Guangbiao’s free cans of fresh air are the latest in a number of stunts that criticise the Chinese government’s environmental policies. He recently attempted to demonstrate his belief that the world would be a better place without cars by lying under sheets of wood and steel while two cars drove over the top of him.
Though Guangbiao has been using Beijing’s recent smog issues as an attack on the government and people’s relaxed attitude towards the environment; over the past couple of weeks public opinion toward cutting down on the amount of pollution in China has greatly increased.
It’s not unusual to see smog in China’s capital at this time of year since many people are moving in and out of the city through various means of transport such as cars and planes, but the current smog has been reported as being some of the worst in recent memory.