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Chinese Students Are Forced to Take Tests Outdoors in Thick Smog

A school principal in China’s Henan province was recently suspended for making young students take tests outdoors in smog so thick that they could barely see their papers, despite receiving orders to close the school.

On December 20th, 480 students from the No. 1 Middle School in Linqi town, Linzhou, were forced to take their tests on the school’s an outdoor football field, in heavy smog. Photos taken by concerned parents and later sent to local media outlets show the children struggling to make out the writing on their papers, but the principal apparently decided that the smog was not “severe”.

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Chinese Artist Vacuums Beijing’s Polluted Air, Creates Solid Brick from It

Have you ever imagined air so thick that you could literally vacuum the dirt out of it? Well, believe it or not, a Chinese artist has actually gone and done that in a bid to raise awareness about environmental protection. He used an industrial vacuum cleaner outdoors during smoggy days in Beijing and eventually made a brick out of all the dust he collected.

The man, who goes by the name ‘Brother Nut’, said he came up with the idea after he was shocked to read news reports about the quality of air in China’s capital city. So he started a 100-day ‘Dust Plan’, just to show people how dust is affecting their daily lives. He got a 1,000-watt vacuum cleaner that absorbed 100 grams of a mixture of “dust and smog” from the amount of air inhaled by about 62 people in four days.

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Smog-Covered Hong Kong Installs Clear Skyline Banners for Vacation Photos

Hong Kong has one of the world’s most stunning skylines. The problem is it’s becoming barely visible behind the dense curtain of smog that has engulfed several of the city’s districts, and even harder to capture in vacation photos. Unable to fix the air pollution problem, tourism authorities have instead decided to install clear skyline banners where tourists can have their pictures taken.

This week, Hing Kong’s Air Pollution Index reached “very high” levels in Central and Western District, Causeway Bay and Mongkok, with very high concentrations of toxic ozone and nitrogen dioxide recorded by local monitoring stations. Apart from the obvious health-related issues, the heavy smoke covering the island city is also hurting the local tourism business. According to Chinese newspaper China Daily, the frequent air pollution has contributed greatly to the decline in tourist numbers, with a recent survey revealing a rise in “complaints focused on the environment at scenic spots” around China. After all, what good is a city’s magnificent skyline if you can barely see it? Luckily, Hong Kong authorities have come up with a novel solution to this problem – they installed a number of panoramic banners displaying a clear view of the city at various scenic spots. Here, people can take smog-free photos of the skyscraper-studded waterfront, to have as souvenirs.

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Florentine Artist Fights Pollution by Painting with Smog

If you’re ever in Florence, Italy, and see a grown man on a ladder wiping the dust off statues and building, don’t worry, it’s just Alessandro Ricci gathering material for his famous smog paintings.

40-year-old Ricci is not your average artist, and I don’t say that just because he used smog as the main medium of his artworks. Unlike other painters seeking fast recognition of their talent, he doesn’t really care about “being this big artist”. Instead he is more concerned about bringing attention to how much smog there really is in his home town and how it’s destroying both its monuments and people. Although he did take a couple of art classes a few years back, he is mainly self-taught, doesn’t work in a studio, donates most of his work, and refuses to play by the rules of the Florentine Art Gallery, which he considers corrupt. Alessandro Ricci believes selling his smog paintings  would not only compromise his principles, but also contradict the very thing he’s trying to do – raise awareness about smog pollution in this great Italian city.

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