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Chinese using smartphones to manage air pollution

Posting in Cities

Smartphones can do everything from sending e-mails to providing instructions on CRP, but multitudes of people in China are now using them to manage exposure to pollution. Beijing's worsening smog problem has compelled residents to download apps that monitor air quality - at a rate of tens of thousands per day.

IDG News Service's Michael Kan yesterday wrote a feature on two Chinese software companies that are seeing a dramatic increase in demand for apps that warn about hazardous environmental conditions. Fresh-Ideas Studio receives over 10,000 downloads daily, and upstart Longcat Labs has recently seen its downloads triple.

That's because Beijing is recording its worst air pollution on record; readings of its air quality index are now off the chart. Some tech savvy Chinese have turned to the Internet (and Web-enabled smartphone apps) to monitor current conditions, and even to declare support for new regulations to clear the air. Others are cashing in.

A Chinese billionaire has even been attempting to sell cans of scented bottled air, and pollution masks and air purifiers are flying off the shelves. Ironically, the consumerism that has driven China's pollution woes is its short term remedy. It's clear that a better solution is needed for China to address this $US112 billion problem.

(Image credit Fresh-Ideas Studio)

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— By on January 31, 2013, 1:20 PM PST

David Worthington

Contributing Editor

David Worthington has written for BetaNews, eWeek, PC World, Technologizer and ZDNet. Formerly, he was a senior editor at SD Times. He holds a business degree from Temple University. He is based in New York. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure