Even as she chokes herself to death under the biggest and most toxic shroud of smog in history, China has won some admirers for the ethereal quality of scenery she now offers those brave enough to chance their lungs to see.
Canned air and stylish air filters are amongst the latest innovations to grace Chinese markets, although with the air merely coming from elsewhere in China and the masks being made in China, there may be some reasonable doubts as to the efficacy of either:
Official Chinese statistics suggest some 600,000,000 Chinese were affected by air pollution in January alone, with the toxic cloud covering a quarter of the nation.
According to estimates published by one Chinese paper, air pollution will kill 300,000 Chinese this year, and hospitalise a further 600,000 – a toll which may paradoxically only add to China’s impressive growth rates, as expenditures on treatments and efforts to mitigate pollution are liable to be counted as additions to GDP.
Even neighbouring Japan is not safe – the cloud now extends over the entirety of Kyushu, and cities there have been forced to begin monitoring air quality and issuing health advisories: