34-year-old Nut Brother was born in China’s east-central Hubei province, which is about 1,160 km (720 miles) south of the Chinese capitol city. He states he was inspired to launch “Dust Plan” after experiencing the much-publicized 2013 “Airpocalypse” – three days of heavy smog during which PM2.5 readings in some areas of Beijing surged to the 900 level. As a way of reference, the US embassy in Beijing’s measurement scale describes PM2.5 levels ranging from 301 up to 500 as being “hazardous” to human health.
The “PM” in PM2.5 stands for particulate matter suspended in the atmosphere. These fine particles may have natural (from volcanoes, for example) or man-made origins, with industrial smokestack effluent or vehicle exhaust pipes being prime examples of the latter. PM2.5 describes fine particles with diameters of 2.5 micrometers or less. The reason PM2.5 is listed as a standard for measuring smog or air pollution is that particles of this size are small enough to be absorbed into the bloodstream where their presence can lead to a wide range of debilitating health problems.
As for Nut Brother, after 100 days of vacuuming Beijing’s oft-noxious air it was time to clean house, so to speak: he brought the accumulated dust collected by his vacuum cleaner’s filters to a local brick factory where it was compressed into a solid brick. While certainly deserving of attention in and of itself, Nut Brother stated that he “hopes the brick will be used to help build something in the city.” Let’s just hope it’s not another smog-spewing factory. (images and info via Shanghaiist, NetEase, and Jianguoxiongdi)