It’s no news that China is among the top 5 countries of the world with the most polluted air. Dangerously bad air quality is one of the inevitable side effects of China’s rapid industrialization. In 2008 hundreds of thousands of trees were planted in Beijing in order to increase green space and make the city more livable. Five years later, smog hit the Chinese capital like never before, causing the city to fade away engulfed by thick gray smog. The red light went on when Beijing’s air pollution reached a new, almost toxic high, exceeding the hazardous level, raising serious concerns and increasing risk for serious health problems.

Beijing smog (Hayden Opie via Flickr)

Beijing smog (Hayden Opie via Flickr)

Clear day vs smoggy day (peter barwick via Flickr)

Clear day vs smoggy day (peter barwick via Flickr)

(photo: imgur.com)

(photo: imgur.com)

(photo: hashtagsmag.com)

(photo: hashtagsmag.com)

(photo: japantimes.co.jp)

(photo: japantimes.co.jp)

(photo: AnimaSuri via Flickr)

(photo: AnimaSuri via Flickr)

Tiananmen Square (photo: hrtbps.com)

Tiananmen Square (photo: hrtbps.com)

Gate of Heavenly Peace (SFCityscape via Flickr)

Gate of Heavenly Peace (SFCityscape via Flickr)

kevin dooley via Flickr

(photo: kevin dooley via Flickr)