How Beijing lives with its smoggy skies

Published 7:16 PM ET, Tue December 9, 2014
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A sense of humor helps. Beijingers coined the wry phrase '#APEC blue' after authorities used extreme measures to control pollution during November's APEC summit. The smog quickly returned after the summit finished and world leaders had departed. With snow forecast this week in the capital, locals have coined a new weather word: snoggy. Serena Dong/CNN
Face masks that protect against the smog are de rigueur for both a morning stroll ..... ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images
....and sporting events like the recent Beijing marathon. STR/AFP/Getty
Fashion designers are even incorporating face masks into designs and runway shows. ​Qiaodan Sports Company Limited
Schools keep students indoors during heavy smog. Dayu Zhang/CNN
The International School of Beijing has erected a huge dome to allow kids space to roam and breathe. Dayu Zhang/CNN
Otherwise they would have little opportunity for physical exercise in clean air.
The pollution problem is also driving innovation. Infipure's "nose mask" claims to cut 99% of PM 2.5 particles without the bulkiness of a surgical face mask. The disposable filters, made from non-toxic, latex-free materials, are inserted into your nostrils and aim to be undetectable.
Artists have come up with their own take on the problem. Chiu Chih has designed a a bold, abstract take on an oxygen tank -- a potted plant inside a clear backpack hooked up to two tubes to funnel fresh air into a face mask. Courtesy Chiu Chih
British artist Matt Hope attached a small generator to a bike's back wheel and as he pedals, electricity is produced to power his homemade filtration system. He says it's "an ironic commentary about living in China."
Thomas Talhelm started worrying about the air inside his Beijing home in 2013 but couldn't afford the luxury of an expensive air purifier. He created an air purifier consisting of a basic household fan with a HEPA filter attached to it.
But it's not always gloomy. Clear days provoke a frenzy of photo taking in and around the Chinese capital. These days though are not common enough. Steven Jiang/CNN