By Erik Crouch
Image on Weibo, via Global Times
In an attempt to protect its officers from the sweet, cancerous smell of PM2.5 smog, Shanghai’s Songjiang district has begun equipping its police force with hilarious purple nasal filters. Unlike the classic pollution masks worn by most air-quality conscious citizens, nasal plugs still allow police officers to blow whistles and shout (presumably while sounding as though they have severe congestion).
Traffic cops are the logical first choice for the city’s anti-pollution schnoz-wear, as they spend their days surrounded by China’s biggest pollution machines: cars. Some speculate that the nose filters are a cheap workaround to the larger problem of health insurance for Shanghai’s police force:
An assistant traffic officer surnamed Chen told the state-run Global Times that she stood for more than six hours a day amid pollution and car exhaust fumes for a salary of 2,000 yuan (about £210) a month, plus 100 yuan “to compensate her for any damage to her health while working outside”.
Crothall said: “Legally, [traffic police] should be covered by insurance provisions. You won’t get in a hospital door with 100 yuan these days.”
Who needs health insurance if you have purple mushroomy nasal filters? Definitely police officers.