PM2.5 Glasses And Paper Bags – Environmental Chic for Smog-battered Chinese

Natalie Wang , January 24, 2015 3:34pm (updated)

Beijing’s air quality index has registered above 300, or “hazardous”, over several days last week, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. Many residents braced themselves for the “airpocalypse” by wearing face masks and cranking their air purifiers at home. Some Chongqing residents were even spotted wearing PM 2.5 glasses and paper bags with blackened lungs to raise environmental awareness.

On Saturday in Chongqing’s Foreigners’ Street, a popular tourist attraction, a number of shop owners wore the glasses and paper bags emblazoned with, “we need fresh air”. Others held signs shaped like a hand that read, “we need to protect our environment like our home”, and “protect environment, quash PM 2.5”.

However, not everyone was complaining. Retailers selling face masks, air purifiers, and any other smog resistant products made a pretty penny. In the last few days, the average price of an air purifier in Beijing went from RMB 40 to as high as RMB 20,000, while the price of face masks rocketed to nearly RMB 100, up from RMB 2.5, according to the report.

Whether those products actually protect residents remains debatable, however. State governments in seven provinces, coupled with 35 local government bodies are working to formulate regulations on air quality related products. The regulations are expected to be released in 2015.

Photos: China News

Natalie Wang

Journalist based in Hong Kong.