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Chinese Carmakers Lure Smog-Weary Citizens with Air Purifiers

Apr 29, 2014 05:10 PM EDT
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Chinese carmakers are luring in customers amidst a smog-infested nation with their new air purifiers, South China Morning Post reported.

(Photo : Reuters/Aly Song)

Chinese carmakers are luring in customers amidst a smog-infested nation with their new air purifiers, South China Morning Post reported.

The Beijing auto show last week showcased 1,000 vehicles, some of which are capitalizing on China's pollution problem.

Volvo Cars, the Swedish subsidiary of Chinese carmaker Geely, launched a campaign last year showcasing a new air-cleaning system that filters out particles and pollen.

Nissan has offered its "Forest AC" system since 2010 in its Infiniti model - which besides filtering the air, can add a hint of leafy aroma and can suck away all traces of cigarette smoke in five minutes.

The publicity move seems to be working.

"It is definitely an important index for people who are looking to buy a car," Wang Jiran, a visitor to the Beijing auto show, told the Morning Post. "For the sake of family members' health."

Car emissions from increased traffic have greatly contributed to the smog blanket covering China, as well as coal-powered plants. The nation pumped out almost 10 gigatons of CO2 in 2012, more than the US and the EU combined and nearly a third of the global total, according to the Financial Times.

 In some places such as Beijing, the Air Quality Index has soared to as high as 755 (anything below 50 is considered a safe zone), according to The New York Times. According to the scientists, conditions are generally worse during the winter due to a mix of stagnant weather patterns and higher levels of coal burning.

"This pollution affects cloud formations, precipitation, storm intensity and other factors and eventually impacts climate," Texas A&M atmospheric sciences Professor Renyi Zhang, who conducted a related study, said in a news release. "Most likely, pollution from Asia can have important consequences on the weather pattern here over North America."

China just passed a new environmental protection law last Thursday - which will take effect Jan. 1, 2015 - that will increase penalties for environmental infractions, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

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