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'Hairy Nose' tackles Chinese pollution

  • Published at 10:52 am March 1st, 2016

Air pollution in China is no laughing matter, but one campaign group hopes its bizarre new film will provoke both laughs and action among urban Chinese.

"Hairy Nose" depicts a bleak future where people have evolved lengthy nasal hair to filter out the smog.

It ends with a warning that if people don't change their ways, pollution will change them.

The charity, WildAid, told the BBC they wanted people to stop waiting for government action to fix the problem.

"We wanted to find some humorous way to talk about the very serious problem we are facing," said WildAid's China representative, May Mei.

Hairy Nose shows a parade of stylish Chinese people - and one dog - sporting elaborately groomed nasal hair as they go about their daily lives in the "putrid, choking air and the never ending smog".

We see a a young family out with their hairy-nosed baby, a young commuter with her nasal hair dyed and plaited, hipsters playing pool and a couple on a date.

"To them, this is just the way it is," say the captions.

But one man decides not to "blindly submit" and shaves off his nose hair so he can breathe, "because it reminds me that the sky once was blue".

"Change air pollution before it changes you," says the final caption.

Ms Mei said WildAid wanted to tell people to stop waiting for the government to take action on pollution and climate change, and instead come up with their own creative ways to be more green.

"A lot of people complain about pollution in Beijing and Shanghai, but no-one really knows what you can do," she said.

"What we want to say is that change is not that difficult, it should come from everyone."

She suggested that 35% of Beijing's pollution comes from transport fumes, so cycling or walking would make a real difference.

The campaign is targeting mostly young Chinese, particularly internet users, because they are "willing to change, to accept new ideas and are also prepared for something better".

China, which is reliant on coal-fuelled power stations, is the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

Pollution levels in major cities routinely reach levels considered dangerous to human health.

A report last year, published in Nature, put the number of annual deaths in China attributable to pollution at 1.3 million.

WildAid clearly doesn't expect people to take its hairy nose warning literally, but Ms Mei said they hoped it would make people "think harder".

"If you're waiting to change your actions, you will eventually be forced to live not in the way you want," she said.

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