Axel Witsel Belgique Maillot

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This file photo shows a worker checking a pollution mask at the ASL Masks factory in Dongliu, in Shandong Province. Air quality in some 300 haze-hit Chinese cities failed to meet national standards last year Axel Witsel Belgique Maillot , and several firms are eying profits in the thick smog. ASL started making industrial masks in the 1980s, but has found the market for anti-pollution equipment much more lucrative. — AFP

THE steel plants and cement factories scattered across east China’s Shandong Province have made it one of the most contaminated areas of the world’s biggest polluter. But for one company, that just makes the business climate better.

ASL Masks says it turned out more than 100,000 face coverings last year and aims to more than double that in 2016 as China struggles to shake off the toxic smog produced by its heavy industries.

At ASL’s Dongliu facility, shabby buildings bearing faded signs from the 1980s exhorting “scientific innovation” are just visible through the haze — pollution levels were six times international standards when AFP visited.

Dozens of middle-aged women wearing bright blue hats and aprons worked in near silence Jan Vertonghen Belgique Maillot , sliding air filters into holes in the plastic products before threading on straps and yellow buckles.

“Smog is bad for the lungs. We all wear masks around here,” said packager Chen Aimei.

China is the world’s top greenhouse gas emitter and last year air quality in some 300 haze-hit Chinese cities failed to meet national standards.

Levels of PM2.5, tiny particles which can embed deep within the lungs, are usually above the World Health Organization’s recommended maximum of 25 parts per million. In the northeastern city of Shenyang in Liaoning Province they reached more than 1,400 in November.

The pollution — mostly generated by burning coal to power industry and heat homes Leander Dendoncker Belgique Maillot , along with road traffic — is responsible for hundreds of thousands of premature deaths in China each year, experts say.

Public anger is mounting over the issue, but a wave of firms see silver linings to the smog, including air purifier and pollution monitor manufacturers, as well as mask makers.

Even when many Chinese factory workers had downed tools for the Lunar New Year holiday in February Thomas Vermaelen Belgique Maillot , CEO Zhang Wenchao kept his staff on until the last possible moment.

“December to April is our busiest period... because it’s the peak for pollution,” he said.

ASL started making industrial masks in the 1980s, but has since turned to the more lucrative anti-pollution equipment market.

Demand has grown as authorities have started releasing more data on the problem, and state media estimate the Chinese pollution mask market was worth nearly 4 billion yuan (US$600 million) in 2015.

ASL has designed a product specially adapted for youngsters by measuring the faces of 100 children.

“People’s awareness of pollution protection is increasing all the time. People know that PM 2.5 is bad for them,” Zhang said.

Shandong Province is the center of the industry Jordan Lukaku Belgique Maillot , with another production hub, Dadian, dubbed the “mask village” for producing the cheapest specimens.

It can be a murky business. Dadian was hit by scandal last year when local media . Cheap Team Finland Jerseys Cheap Team Czech Republic Jerseys Wholesale USA Jerseys Wholesale Team Russia Jerseys Cheap Sharks Jerseys Cheap Senators Jerseys Cheap New York Rangers Jerseys Wholesale Pittsburgh Penguins Jerseys Wholesale Tampa Bay Lightning Jerseys Wholesale New York Islanders Jerseys

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