As Beijing deals with increasing levels of air pollution, concerned residents in the city have started rushing to buy air purifiers in an effort to keep the negative health effects of smog at bay.
Following the Chinese National Meteorological Centre's issuing of an "orange" smog warning for a large section of Northern China, the people in Beijing are scrambling to adapt. Many manufacturing centers have been ordered to cut production and construction work has also been brought to a halt in order to reduce air pollution levels. Other measures have also been taken, such as a reduction in grilling and other methods of cooking known to produce a lot of smoke.
For the people of Beijing, the government warning has also brought about a number of changes. Many Beijing residents have resorted to buying facemasks and air purifiers in order to protect themselves. State-run news agencies have reported that sales of air purifiers in a Beijing electronic store have tripled within the past few days. The people have also been advised to keep outdoor activities at a minimum. In fact, many schools have been ordered to call off physical education classes and other activities that require students to spend time outdoors.
Chinese officials continue to grapple with the worsening condition of air pollution in many parts of the country. Officials stated that areas such as Tianjin and Beijing as well as certain sections of the Shanxi, Henan, Shandong, Hebei and Shaanxi provinces were affected by heavy air pollution last weekend.
There have been heated debates regarding the biggest cause of air pollution in the country. Many local government units have already clamped down on vehicle use in an effort to curb the problem. However, experts are concerned that these restrictions on vehicle ownership would do little to reduce air pollution.
"Smog cannot be solved by capping the number of cars or restricting them from running," said Niu Wenyuan in a statement to the state-run news ageny Xinhua. Wenyuan is an expert on sustainable development and a consultant for the State Council.
The air pollution situation in China has steadily been getting worse over the course of the past few years. Back in 2012, the China Medical Association had issued warnings that air pollution had the potential to become the biggest health issue in China. Due to increasing levels of air pollution, China has seen a rise in the number of incidents related to cardiovascular disease and lung cancer.
While the use of air purifiers may help Beijing citizens reduce the negative effects of smog, experts and public health officials will need to find a more long term solution to the problem.