23:52 GMT +316 December 2017
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    A woman wearing a mask for protection against air pollution walks on a pedestrian overhead bridge in Beijing as the capital of China is shrouded by heavy smog on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016

    China Unveils Human 'Smog Tasters' to Tackle Air Pollution

    © AP Photo/ Andy Wong
    Asia & Pacific
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    China's Ministry of Environmental Protection announced the start of intensified air pollution monitoring program in 28 cities. As a part of the program, the environmental monitoring center in the Chinese province of Hebei employed experts, specializing in "smog tasting."

    The experts received special training and obtained a corresponding license from local authorities.

    As reported by CGTN TV channel, "smog tasters" are supposed to analyze air samples collected in various regions of the country. Their main task is to determine the source and the degree of air pollution.

    Representatives of the center said that despite the existence of modern technologies, none of them is comparable with the human smell in terms of speed and accuracy of determining the air characteristics.

    Specialists of this new and rare profession do not wear protective masks to ensure the accuracy of the analysis. For the sake of their job, they also do not eat spicy food, don't apply makeup and don't use perfume.

    Air pollution is one of the most acute problems in modern China. According to the China Daily newspaper, some 5,600 government officials are currently involved in the environmental protection program.

    In March, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said the government would undertake a number of measures to combat air pollution in 2017 and "make the skies blue again."

    According to a survey conducted by the University of California, a total of 1.6 million people in China die annually from diseases caused by air pollution, which means some 4,000 deaths per day.

    Related:

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    Air Pollution Level in China's Major Cities Drops by 31% Since 2013
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    job, environment, smog, air pollution, China
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