Residents seek for fresh air amid choking smog in Beijing

Residents in Beijing are seeking ways to get fresh air after thick smog covers country

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A child wears a protective mask to shield from extreme smog in central Beijing on December 8, 2015

Many families are looking for ways to get fresh air, even in their home in China’s capital Beijing, after thick smog covered the country, which is a repetitive occurrence during the winter every year.

Beijing issued its first "red alert" on Tuesday as many residents ignored warnings to limit their time outdoors.

Liu Nanfeng, a 34-year-old scriptwriter, equips his apartment with a fresh air ventilator, which purifies the air from the outside before releasing it indoors. He said that even his two-year-old recognised the amount of the pollution in the air.

"We have a child, and she's so eager to play outdoors. My child is two-years-old and has already learned to notice the air [quality] when facing the window and said that [she] couldn't go outside and play since the air quality was not good. It really makes one bitter and makes one lose his patience," said Liu.

The Beijing city government ordered that all outdoor construction works to stop on "red alert" days and urged schools to close. He said that students should not go to schools even on lower alert days, not only on "red alert" days to protect their health.

"If [the government] wants to activate measure to close primary and high schools, this must be jointly launched along with other measures that have higher social costs. This means that this public protection measure is more difficult to be put into practice. So Greenpeace also recommends that closing high, primary schools should be put into place during a much lower pollution alert level, such as an orange alert, or an even lower level. In this way there would be more opportunities to realise these measures. And this is a better way to ensure the health of children," said Dong.

TRTWorld reports from Beijing to analyse what changed after the red alert was issued.

TRTWorld and agencies