Smog refugees of China

We know refugees. They are the people who leave their country to escape war or a natural disaster. Over the centuries many people have moved to other nations as refugees and now call the new nations their home.

UN Refugee Agency defines Refugee as:

Refugee (n) ref·u·gee : Refugees are people fleeing conflict or persecution.

Smog refugees

flee Chinese cities as 'airpocalypse' blights half a billion

Under the Nazi regime, due to Adolf Hitler a lot of people ran away leaving all their belongings behind, to seek refuge in countries as far as United States of America & Canada. When partition of India took place, there were plenty of refugees on both side of the new border. But refugees from Smog, due to apparent ‘airpocalypse’ is new and something that needs deeper understanding.

Smog refugees of Beijing

China’s north is its industrial heartland, and this winter season that portion of the mainland is most affected by pollution (and worse) in the air. Greenpeace East Asia in its press release tells us that North China is seeing its worst air pollution of 2016 with 460 million people finding it hard to breathe. That’s the population of United States, Canada and Mexico combined breathing hazardous level of smog and heavy pollution.

They shared what air’s quality really is right now there in this tweet

Airpocalypse” due to hazardous level of smog and heavy pollution in Northern China’s air has made refugees of cities’ citizens.

Industrial Air Purifier

Not everyone can do it though. People who are not moving do not move, like Lauri Myllyvirta, a Beijing-based Greenpeace activist, have to tough it out with the help of air purifiers, dust masks and similar equipments. The air outside of their homes is no polluted that no one is willing to venture outside their homes.

Flights to pollution-free cities are packed, people are taking vacations to Australia, Indonesia, Japan and the Maldives.

Dangerous smog blankets northeastern China - DW
Smog refugees – smog filled townships

Jiang Aoshuang, one of the smog refugees, tried to make her way to Chongli, a smog-free ski resort, but found it already full with other smog refugees who were trying to find cleaner air there.

“You ask me why I left Beijing? It’s because I want to live,”

– Yang Xinglin, 27, who had also fled to Chongli for some respite, told the Guardian. 

Emma Zhang, Li Dongke and other smog refugees like them decided to decamp to the Yunnan province.

“I finally saw the blue sky. It was wonderful!”,

– Emma said.

Moreover, it hasn’t been easy to fly away, as a lot of flights had to be cancelled due to high levels of pollution & smog. On Tuesday, all flights from Beijing domestic airport were cancelled and so were 273 flights from Beijing International airport.

[featured image via CNN]