What’s that man wearing in the picture above? Is it a new subculture fashion trend born in Harajuku? Or maybe some kind of bulky nasal strip? Actually, it’s an incredibly high-tech nasal air purifying device to combat air pollution.
The smog problem in several major Chinese cities is impossible to ignore, and poses colossal environmental and health risks unless drastic action is taken soon (it apparently even forces couples to take wedding photos while wearing gas masks…). There has been recent talk of using drones to fight the smog, but in the meantime the police department of one city in northern China is taking precautionary measures to protect the health of its workers by providing them with specialized breathing equipment.
It’s not quite as cool looking as the mask worn by, say, the titular character of Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, but just wait until you read everything that this little contraption can do.
Members of the police force in the Chang-an District of Shijiazhuang, the capital city of China’s northern Heibei Province, must have been ecstatic when a Beijing-based technological corporation gifted members of its traffic division with the high-tech devices on May 14. And it’s no small wonder for their delight–the total donation was worth an estimated 100,000 yuan (US$16,032)!
Employees who work in the traffic division are stationed outside for prolonged periods of time, consequently inhaling copious amounts of exhaust fumes and other airborne pollutants every year. Ordinary facial masks just don’t quite make the cut, and the dangerous levels of urban smog could give rise to serious health problems in the immediate future.
But now, these new nasal air purifiers were designed with a special 3-D sealing technology to shut out 99% of toxic substances in the air. They also utilize the latest bio-mechanical engineering research, complete with a respirator to keep the act of breathing as natural as possible and to maximize the airspace within. One more thing–the Beijing firm was kind enough to provide the officers with custom-made blue versions of the device to match their uniforms! Phew, we wouldn’t want to have to see the fashion police arrest a fellow officer, now would we?
Unfortunately, the device does not come with a mouth component, for the simple reason that it would interfere too much with the policemen’s duties to direct traffic and pedestrians. We’re guessing that means that they’ll try to breathe through their noses as much as possible whenever they aren’t talking.
If you ask us, the manufacturers of the device must have taken a cue from Hayao Miyazaki’s 1984 pre-Studio Ghibli classic Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. While the custom-made blue design of Chinese officers is certainly sleeker and more portable, don’t you think Nausicaä’s mask is pretty awesome looking? Of course, the most desirable outcome would be for any kind of mask to be rendered unnecessary by preserving the environment so that it doesn’t deteriorate to a post-apocalyptic hazardous wasteland in the first place…
▼ “I’m a princess; why am I directing traffic!?”