It’s no secret that China is currently facing a very serious air pollution problem. Last month, the northern city of Harbin was forced to cancel classes, shut down the airport and close down bus routes. At the time, the air pollution was 40 times higher than the international safety standard set by the World Health Organization.
The density of fine particulate matter is used to determine air quality. According to the World Health Organization, anything below 25 micrograms per cubic meter is safe. Harbin was well above 600 micrograms per cubic meter and some areas went as high as 1000.
Wu Kai, a citizen of Harbin told Huffington Post “I couldn’t see anything outside the window of my apartment, and I thought it was snowing, then I realized it wasn’t snow. I have not seen the sun for a long time.”
Now, China is dealing with its youngest lung cancer case- an 8-year-old girl. Doctors state that this is a direct consequence of the air pollution while living near a major road in the eastern province of Jiangsu. According to the American Cancer Society, the average age for lung cancer diagnosis is 70.
In the past 30 years in China, lung cancer deaths have multiplied profusely and cancer is currently the leading cause of death.
Designer Chiu Chih explored the idea of what could potentially be the future of China if the air pollution continues to harm its inhabitants. This included oxygen masks which would have to be worn in the smog-ridden area. Unfortunately, this may turn into a reality.