In This Dark PSA, China’s Pollution Is So Bad That Everyone’s Growing Nose Hair

Air pollution gets so bad in China that people already walk around with face masks and avoid going outside. And in the future? The standard protection measure will make people look even more ridiculous: They’ll grow their nasal hair to filter out the smog.

That’s according to a humorous new PSA from the nonprofit WildAid China and advertising agency McCann Shanghai. It features Chinese who’ve turned their nose hair into a fashion statement. Curls, fuzz, and long locks are the new chic in the “distant future.”

“In this world, nose hair has evolved to filter pollution and has led to activities, fashion, and culture centered on the now prominent facial features,” says WildAid in a press release. “The message for current urban residents is clear: Change air pollution before it changes you.”

Amidst the social switch to nose hair, one man in the film refuses to accept pollution levels and “shaves his nose hair in defiance,” WildAid says. Shaving is a revolutionary act, you might say.

The serious point is that China is choking on its economic success. Last year, 366 out of 366 of its largest cities failed World Health Organization air-quality standards. Pollution leads to more than 1 million premature deaths a year.

WildAir says increasing car use is the number source of pollution in Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and many other cities. Therefore, it concludes by calling for more low-carbon transit, and more bicycling. Better the faux-pas of a dorky helmet than a droopy nose-mustache.