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Sunrise televised to beat the smog in Beijing

Expatriates in Beijing may have started to get used to the long periods without natural sunshine due to the smog that descends on the city, but the Chinese government is attempting to do something about it.

Instead of showing adverts, large digital screens across the capital have been broadcasting the sunrise to the city's inhabitants.

The season for dangerous smog in Beijing is only just beginning and the measure proved popular, as residents left their homes in masks to protect their lungs and gathered around the screens.

Elderly people and school children were advised to stay indoors on Thursday, as a severe air warning was issued.

This was the first time that monitors had registered more than 500 micrograms of pollution this winter – a figure that is around 26 times the amount the World Health Organization states is safe.

Many commuters, however, were left without a choice and faced the morning commute amid the thick haze that had set in.

As well as blocking out the sun, the smog also has an acrid smell, making it even more unpleasant.

One commuter said: "I couldn't see the tall buildings across the street this morning. The smog has gotten worse in the last two to three years.

"I often cough, and my nose is always irritated. But what can you do? I drink more water to help my body discharge the toxins."

The periods of heavy smog can last for days at a time and are worse in the winter when the weather is particularly stagnant and more fossil fuels are burnt.

Beijing is not the only city in China that suffers from the problem of smog, but it is considered the worse.

The country has sacrificed air quality in exchange for economic benefit. Any potential expats thinking of moving to one of China's larger cities should take the smog into serious consideration.

Pledges to cut emissions and eliminate the smog have been made, but so far evidence of an improvement in the situation is not forthcoming.

Expatriate Healthcare specialise in providing international health insurance. Make sure you're protected.

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