Breathing in smog — A look at three families' choices
Story by CGTN reporters Tian Yi and Zhang Wanbao
In 2016, the sight of people wearing masks gradually faded from view in Beijing… until winter arrived and the city issued its first red alert for smog. All the city’s kindergartens and schools were told to close. The alert was lifted after six days, on December 22nd. Yet on January 3, Beijing followed up with its first red alert for heavy fog and a sustained orange alert for severe air pollution.
China’s northern Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region saw an average density of PM2.5 particles – the most harmful kind of particles - of 71 micrograms per cubic meter in 2016, down 7.8 percent from 2015, according to the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau. In 2017, Beijing says it wants to keep the figure under 60 micrograms.
Still, residents remain worried. CGTN’s multimedia team talked to three families in Beijing, from toddlers and students to young mothers and senior citizens, to see the life choices they made as they struggled with smog.
What do they say?
Zhang Xuan, 8 ;
Zhang Rui, 6
— What do you think smog is made of?
— Small particles, maybe.
— Small particles? We should be able to see them then.
— I’m not sure.
— Smog is a big monster. We’ve got to get rid of it!
Zhang Ruoting, 30;
Daughter Miantiao, 2
“Most pollutants concentrate less than one meter above ground. That makes toddlers like my daughter the most vulnerable to smog.”
“Winds usually blow away the smog and bring us fresh air. But more needs to be done than simply pinning our hopes on winds.”
Han Chunlan, 64
As a local Beijinger, I need a home in Beijing. But at this age, I also want to stay healthy and live longer. That’s why I decided to buy a condo in another city, where I can escape the smog and do some exercise whenever I want.
Rain and snow don’t bother me. But smog is another thing. It makes me scared.