Beijing remains one of the most polluted cities on the planet. And while we’re all familiar with images of smog engulfing the city, what does that smog look like when it follows the air into your lungs? Liu Yong, a researcher at the Beijing University of Chemical Technology, decided to find out. And what he discovered has Chinese social media choking.
He decided to examine the filters of smog masks worn outside Beijing, home to 1/6 of all the country’s smog mask consumers. He put those filters underneath an electron microscope to magnify them 2,000 times. What he found seems like something from a sci-fi movie, but it’s all too real for the residents of Beijing.
“That was only after 10 days, just imagine what it would look like after 10,000!” wrote one worried Weibo user.
PM2.5 particles of smog seem cozy enough in someone’s lungs to stick around.