Beijing locals don colourful face masks as smog hovers over city
In this combination of photos from the first week of December 2015, men and women wear masks to protect from air pollutants in Beijing. (AP/Andy Wong)
The Associated Press
Published Tuesday, December 8, 2015 8:33AM EST
BEIJING -- Episodes of nauseating smog lasting several days have become part of wintertime in the Chinese capital, and for many Beijing residents face masks have become a routine cold-weather accessory, along with hats and gloves.
Despite efforts to improve the air, levels of contamination a dozen times the World Health Organization safe level are not unusual, and the city issued a red alert for smog this week, keeping schools closed and half the vehicles off the streets.
Not content with just the industrial white variety of mask, many Beijingers make a fashion statement while filtering out the pollution. Masks with patterns, textures, logos, messages and cutesy animals bring some colour to the grey haze.