The bizarre ways China copes with thick smog

We all know China has a pollution problem. What's less clear for Chinese residents is how to protect themselves from that pollution. So, people are getting creative.

Those face masks we're used to seeing on the city streets of China are so 2013. (Via Euronews)

Now, the smog-killing bicycle is an option. Or at least it will be soon. A British artist living in Beijing incorporated a gas mask and air filter into a bike, to create a vehicle that cleans air as you pedal. (Via BBC)

In Shanghai, the city has offered its traffic police nose plugs that serve as miniature air filters. Sounds... comfortable? (Via Shanghaiist)

And on that note, just a couple months ago, photos of Chinese residents with cigarette butts in their nostrils went viral on Sina Weibo, a site sort of like Twitter. (Via That's Online)

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As The New York Times puts it, that's because rumors spread that "taking cigarette filters and inserting one into each nostril can block the tiny PM2.5 particles of pollution that make breathing difficult and cause respiratory ailments." For the record, that's not a particularly effective solution.

But there are some more scientific efforts underway to cut through China's urban smog. Like this one from a Dutch expatriate.

This video by Studio Roosegaarde shows how a giant electromagnetic hoop in the sky could draw in smog particles and create at least some room for clear skies. The Dutch inventor says he's in talks with Beijing's mayor.

And for the Chinese government, there's always the old fashioned way. That is, shooting artillery into the clouds to literally make it rain and rinse out the air. (Via CCTV)

Though critics say this just moves pollution from the sky into the water system. Also, it could worsen the situation by putting new chemicals from the artillery into the air. (Via CNN)

China's smog has become an especially big problem in its northern regions. According to an independent study released last summer, the pollution up north means residents there live 5 1/2 fewer years on average than residents in the south.