A novel approach to smog

Everyone who lives in China faces the pollution problem, one way or another.

Li Chunyuan is the Deputy Head of the Department of Environmental Protection in Langfang, just outside of Beijing.

On top of his day job, he is a novelist, and has written a novel entitled “Smog is Coming”. In the novel, a burglary takes place, in which the criminals are wearing masks. Problem is, everyone is wearing masks due to the ever-present pollution, so the thieves can’t be identified. The author incorporated real- life events in this scenario.

Smog is an ever-present reality in Li’s book, and for the Chinese populace, especially those who live in northern cities like Beijing, where pollution from coal-fired heating is worse during the harsh winter months.

There is hope, however. New Environmental Regulations came into effect from January 1st 2015. 35 major cities and municipalities across China have been ordered to investigate the sources of PM 2.5 small particulates in their cities and release reports by the end of the year.

New Minister for the Environment, Chen Jining, is  an environmental scientist, known for riding his bicycle around Tsinghua University. He is also primarily an academic, without government experience. This is seen by commentators as a positive move, in keeping with President Xi Jinping’s crackdown on corruption amongst government officials.