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Proposal offers to give residents free masks

2014-01-21 08:48 Global Times Web Editor: Li Yan

A member of the Shanghai Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) proposed Monday that the local government hand out free breathing masks that are capable of protecting residents from the most dangerous air pollutants.

Shanghai CPPCC member Zhu Junbo said the government should give out the masks because the city's air pollution problem isn't going away anytime soon. Furthermore, it would allow the government to ensure that residents wore masks capable of filtering PM 2.5, a type of air pollutant considered especially dangerous.

"Many people don't buy qualified gauze masks that are designed to screen out PM 2.5," Zhu told the Global Times.

Zhu added that a doctor once told him that a mask he had bought was incapable of filtering out PM 2.5. "The government could purchase the right kind of masks, or select companies to produce qualified masks for distribution," he said.

The government would have to give each resident a supply of masks based on the number of days the city suffers from serious air pollution.

Outdoor workers, young children and traffic police officers should be among the privileged group to first receive the free masks, Zhu said.

Zhu also suggested that the government identify the major sources of PM 2.5, and then tax the companies and individuals most responsible for the pollution. The money could then be used to fund clean air measures and pay for the free masks.

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