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Models, Chinese, smog: Air Pollution forces China models to don surgical masks

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Models, Chinese, smog, and catwalks? What’s the connection? At a fashion show over the weekend, models strutted along a catwalk at a jewelry fashion show in the city of Nanjing. Many thought the surgical masks worn by the runway models were accessories. Instead, due to high levels of toxic air pollution in China, the fashion models were forced to wear safety masks as a precaution, according to a Dec. 9 Huffington Post world news report.

Chinese models braved the smog ( shown here) wearing sleek attire and embellished bling. But to the shock of some in the audience, the girls donned surgeon's masks. Apparently, many well-informed attendees in the audience followed suit and wore masks as well, due to the high level of air pollutants.

Had this took place anywhere but China -- known for its smog crisis -- masks the models donned would be considered just another fashion statement, albeit a very peculiar one.

Truth be told, China is in the midst of a pollution crisis that many have coined the airpocalypse -- and for good reason. And while the title carries a bit of drama, it's not too far away from fiction. Case in point: The World Health Organization (or WHO) says China's smog is 40 times levels that are considered safe for humans.

The country is growing at such a rapid rate that its energy demands, chiefly coal, is causing smog to blanket entire urban areas. And experts believe four million new cases of lung cancer annually are due to heavy and unchecked smog levels in China.

It stinks like smoke. The air really scratches in your throat. We've never experienced such terrible smog," said a local resident in Jiangsu.

Despite the high levels of air pollution and smog in the country, China's government recently tried to put a spin on the controversial matter. A post on China's Central Television's website, laden with propaganda suggests smog is actually good for the country. Here are five so-called "benefits" of the toxic soot:

1. It unifies the Chinese people.

2. It makes China more equal.

3. It raises citizen awareness of the cost of China's economic development.

4. It makes people funnier.

5. It makes people more knowledgeable (of things like meteorology and the English word haze).

And if that idea is not far-fetched and full of parody, officials say smog may actually provide a "defensive advantage in military operations," as reported by the Global Times. Imagine that!

While the "models-Chinese smog" story sounds a bit odd, it could have been tempered a bit had designers created the masks in such a way that they blended in just a bit.

It's just a thought.

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