Whether or not you were here to breathe it yourself, the country-wide smog epidemic, dubbed airpocalypse by the media, has been making international headlines all year. Here are 10 of the biggest airpocalyptic moments from 2013:
Beijing taking pollution seriously, cracking down on BBQ
Image via Let Ideas Compete
In May this year, the Beijing city government announced plans to take down the delicious street-side barbecues as a way to curb the air pollution. In November they went through with the “operation”, destroying more than 500 barbecue grills in a three month span. Fireworks and cigarettes were among other casualties of the crackdown.
China breaks saddest record ever: 8-year-old is youngest lung-cancer patient
An eight-year-old girl from Jiangsu province this year became China’s youngest-ever lung cancer patient, and doctors blamed heavy smog and PM2.5 particles as the main cause for her condition. An analysis done by Greenpeace this year suggested that the level of emissions coming from coal plants contributes to some 257,000 premature deaths a year across China.
Photos: Models at Nanjing fashion show forced to wear masks due to crazy smog levels
Models at jewelry fashion show in Nanjing earlier this month accessorized with (seemingly ineffective) face masks during an especially smoggy day. These unacceptable furry face masks were another “fashionable” trend spawned from the smog.
Shanghai just lowered its air quality benchmark because that’s how bad it is
At one point this month, Shanghai’s polluted skies were causing so many severe alerts that the city’s environmental authorities decided to just tweak the standards of what’s actually considered hazardous.
The ‘5 Surprising Benefits’ of smog, according to state media
One of CCTV’s five claimed “benefits” of smog includes a heightened sense of humor, and yet nobody can tell if this list is a joke.
Photos: Beijing’s startling air-quality changes within six consecutive days
A photographer for People’s Daily Online recorded Beijing’s air-quality changes by taking pictures at the same location in six consecutive days from November 2 to November 7.
Experts say smog is turning Shanghai’s sperm ‘ugly’
Exports at Shanghai’s Renji Hospital infertility team have suggested that poor environment resulting from heavy pollution levels can cause sperm to be “ugly” and stop swimming, and that two thirds of Shanghai semen samples collected in tests did not reach World Health Organization sperm count standards. D’oh.
Photos: Primary students learn special ‘anti-haze’ martial arts to combat smog
Teachers at a school in Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province started teaching students a special form of martial art to combat smog this winter. Naturally, us computer hermits of the world reveled in the sight.
Eight cities in Liaoning fined for ‘excessive smog’
Eight cities in northern China’s Liaoning province were actually fined this month for ‘bad air quality,’ by the Liaoning Department of Environmental Protection and required to give 54.2 million yuan to the provincial government. That’s alotta PRΛDΛ.
Photo of the day: Students perform flag-raising ceremony on computer to avoid smog
Students at a school in Hangzhou had to keep their patriotism confined within four walls during flag-raising ceremonies earlier this month after experts advised children and the elderly not to engage in outdoor activity.