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Saturday 2 December 2023 Dublin: 3°C

It isn't the fog that China is having difficulty seeing through

In some parts of the city smog has reached levels 17 times the recommended limit from the World Health Organisation.

IF YOU THINK the weather warnings we have in place for the coming days are worrying, spare a thought for the residents of Beijing.

Over the weekend, authorities in the city issued the highest smog warning yet this year, putting the city on an orange alert level.

Currently, pollution in some parts of the city sits at a level 17 times higher than what the World Health Organisation (WHO) considers to be safe. 

The conditions pose a serious threat to those living and working in the city.

China Pollution Andy Wong / PA Wire A woman using a cloth to protect against Beijing's pollution Andy Wong / PA Wire / PA Wire

The heavy smog is put down to the prevalence of coal-powered industries in the region as well as dust from construction sites, according to the BBC. 

These are exacerbated by humidity and a lack of wind in the region.

Last month, The People’s Daily newspaper said that air pollution in Shenyang, a region in the south-east of the country, had recorded some of the worst pollution data ever.  

China Pollution Andy Wong / PA Wire Andy Wong / PA Wire / PA Wire

In an attempt to highlight the problem, Chinese artist Wang Renzheng has been vacuuming the city’s air.

As part of what he calls his Dust Project the artist been taking his hoover to some of Beijing’s environmental blackspots.

During the course of four hours he managed to bag 100 grams of dust.

Wang Renzheng AP Wang Renzheng AP

Speaking to Associated Press, Wang said:

This is not an issue to be ignored, and I want to magnify it so much that you cannot ignore it.

The dust collected by Wang will be used to make a brick at a factory in northern China.

He describes the process of doing this as being like “a drop of water going into the sea”.

China Pollution PA Photo / Andy Wong PA Photo / Andy Wong / Andy Wong

China is currently the world’s biggest producer of emissions, but is taking steps to change that. The country’s President Xi Jinping has described the conference as “a new starting point”.

Prior to this week’s COP21 climate change conference in Paris the country committed to a number of climate change targets, the most ambitious of which has been switching its energy sector over to 20% non-fossil fuels by 2030.  

China Pollution Andy Wong / PA Photo Andy Wong / PA Photo / PA Photo

Read: Riot police deployed as 150 world leaders gather for Paris climate change talks

Also: At least 100 arrested at Paris climate change protest

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