A construction worker walks in the smog in Beijing, China. (Photo : Getty Images)
According to reports, a member of the national advisory body of China has called for the introduction of subsidies for outdoor laborers who are working during smoggy weather conditions.
The report from Worker's Daily, a simplified Chinese language newspaper, says that Pan Xiaoyan, a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), said during the Two Sessions in Beijing that the country needed better labor laws and industry standards for regulating outdoor work in polluted conditions.
Pan said: "Given that the smog problem cannot be comprehensively solved in the short-term, I call on the relevant authorities to give consideration to the harmful effects of smog on the health of laborers, especially hygiene workers, couriers, road maintenance workers, and traffic police."
"Regarding protection for laborers, there are clearly not enough measures, and there are blank spaces within the regulations," he added.
Pan also said that respiratory problems that are caused by smog were not often considered occupational diseases, as the symptoms may not appear until later in life. Proving a direct correlation between smog and health issues would also be difficult.
Xu Niansha, Chairman of Poly Group, an armaments manufacturer, and also a member of the CPPCC, agreed with the idea of having "smog subsidy." He proposed that the subsidies could be jointly funded by the government and companies.
Other members of the CPPCC suggested that outdoor labor hours can either be delayed or modified whenever an orange-level alert, the second highest air pollution alert, is in effect.
During the week's Two Sessions, annual meetings of the county's political advisory and top national legislature, Beijing has recorded low levels of air pollution. However, the Air Quality Index level has reached hazardous levels on multiple occasions over the winter.