Hepa-type filtration mask purchased in Beijing, China, 2013

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Hepa-type filtration mask purchased in Beijing, China, Summer 2013
Courtesy of Ralph Litzinger, Associate Professor Cultural Anthropology, Duke University

In January 2013, the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau released a study on air pollutants in the capital city, showing a near 30% rise in nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter over the previous 12-month period.  The dramatic, tangible nature of the pollution led to an intense public outcry and negative global media attention. In response, the city government announced a plan to lower coal and fuel emissions and begin reporting daily pollution figures online.