Hair today ... new Chinese ad aims to raise pollution awareness

Humorous video shows humans who evolve long nasal hair to combat air pollution in the mainland

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 February, 2016, 2:30pm
UPDATED : Friday, 26 February, 2016, 2:30pm

A global environmental group has adopted a humorous way to tackle the serious issue of air pollution on the mainland

WildAid has released a public service announcement in China showing adults and children with nasal hair growing out of control.

Called Hairy Nose the thought-provoking video is set in the distant future, in a world where nose hair has evolved to filter pollution, with activities, fashion and culture cantered on the facial feature. In the face of this, one man refuses to accept the pollution and shaves his nose hair in defiance. The message is clear: change air pollution before it changes you.

Air pollution is a major problem in China. Last year, all 366 cities surveyed by Greenpeace failed to meet World Health Organisation quality standards. A recent WildAid report found that more than 90 per cent of mainlanders are concerned about air pollution.

The film has been featured on popular social media sites, national TV networks, outdoor screens, subway and taxi screens in major Chinese cities and is part of WildAid’s GOblue programme.

“The GOblue programme empowers people in China to make smart, low-carbon transportation choices to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, says May Mei, WildAid’s chief China representative..

“Air pollution is the number one environmental and health concern in urban China, but most people are waiting for the government to enact change or improve the situation,” she says. “It’s important that individuals know they have a role to play too.”

READ MORE: Beijing plans ‘ventilation corridors’ to blow air pollution away

Each year at least 500,000 premature deaths can be attributed to air pollution, the country’s former health minister Chen Zhu said in a 2014 report in The Lancet. Other estimates are higher, including one from Berkeley Earth in California that puts the number at 1.6 million, and another from the Max Planck Institute in Germany that estimates 1.4 million.

Hairy Nose ends with a message to adopt low-carbon transportation, such as bicycling.

In 2015, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said the largest contributor to air pollution in major cities – Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Guangzhou and Shenzhen – was vehicle traffic.