Breathing Through Masks: China Smog Reaches 50 Times WHO’s Recommendations

Wearing a mask while walking on the street becomes imperative in China 1 photo
Skeptics have often accused the World Health Organization of not always saying the truth, but when it comes to high levels of pollution in China, even the country’s environmental agencies confirm it. A new high has been reached on Monday, as winter saw the communist state turn the coal-powered heating plants on.
While the UK and Germany managed to turn wind power into the cheapest form of producing electric energy recently, the world’s most populous country is still using coal to heat the population during winter. And as you probably all know, burning coal is one of the biggest reasons the air becomes hard to breath. Sure, China’s massive pollution problems are related to other aspects as well, such as the fact that it’s a heavy industrialized state that, as of 2014, is the world’s second-largest economy by nominal total GPD.

50 times what the World Health Organization recommends means that walking and breathing on the street becomes difficult if not downright dangerous. Levels of PM2.5, the tiny airborne particles considered most harmful to health, reached 860 micrograms per cubic meter in Changchun, the capital of Jilin province in the northeast, on Monday, according to AFP.

The city’s government initially announced that it was initiating a “level three” emergency response on social media. Such an action translates into telling schools to stop organizing outdoor activities, and reminding residents to “take green transit,” stay indoors and “take health precautions.”

Breathing fresh air is not just improbable these days in China but the country’s worrying pollution has been linked to hundreds of thousands of premature deaths, and according to the source, it has become a primary reason for popular discontent with the government.

“When you go out you feel the air burns your eyes, your throat hurts, so you buy a mask, but it’s not clear what we should specifically be doing,” said a Shenyang resident as quoted by the official news agency Xinhua.
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