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In the past few days, northern China has once again been seriously enveloped by thick haze. On the Internet, there are pictures depicting famous sightseeing spots being hidden behind the haze, and some netizens ridicule that Beijing has “disappeared."

On December 1, an artist used the dust he collected in Beijing to make a brick, in hope of people starting to realize the importance of environmental preservation.

This artist who calls himself, “Peanut Brother," said on his Weibo account that he started planning this project since 2013. He wanted to use a vacuum cleaner to collect the dust in the air of Beijing in 100 days, and then use the dust he collected to make a brick. This brick will ultimately be used as construction material and, “disappear among the millions of bricks. Just like dust," said Peanut Brother.

Photo Credit: AP/ 達志影像

“Peanut Brother" at work. Photo Credit: AP

CNA reports, on December 1, Beijing was still under the orange alert of air pollution. The whole city was grey, and landmarks, such as the Beijing Water Cube, even disappeared from sight at one point.

Sing Pao Daily News reports that due to the impact of the haze, visibility of Beijing International Airport is only 600 to 800 meters. Many flights have been canceled or are delayed, and most of the city highways are also temporarily closed.

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The haze has also led to the increase in the number of patients suffering from respiratory diseases. Beijing Municipal Commission of Education has issued an emergency notice requiring schools to stop all outdoor activities as well.

Apple Daily reports that according to the official classification of the air pollution warning system, pollution that has gone on for more than three days can be trigger the highest “red alert." But Chinese government has refused to issue the alert even though Beijing has been covered in severe haze for five days since November 27.

Experts point out that activating the red alert means that schools and factories will be called off, companies will work flexibly, 30% of the public transportation will be suspended and large-scale outdoor activities will be canceled. The government’s decision of not raising the warning level has been criticized on the Internet.

Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau says that this year is the strongest El Niño year on record. In November, northern China has repeatedly suffered from heavy snowfall, which is unfavorable for haze to dissipate due to the saturation of ground moisture. On the other hand, vehicle emissions and coal burning have increased since winter arrived. These are what led to the current severe air pollution.

Translated by Vic Chiang
Edited by Olivia Yang