If you look hard enough through the thick haze that regularly engulfs Beijing, you can probably make out the faint outline of such iconic structures as the China Central Television (CCTV) tower, the Bird’s Nest stadium, and Tiananmen Square. But some days, the air quality is so severely bad—like on Monday when officials raised the pollution alert to red, the highest level—that all people can see is a wall of gray.
So locals have gone ahead and outlined the city’s major landmarks, which have become mere blurs in photos.
Can’t see the CCTV tower in the photo above? Oh, there it is:
Why, it’s Tiananmen Square:
These rough sketches hardly capture the grandeur of these mega-structures, but the doctored pics are sweeping social media and providing some comic relief for the 22.5 million people choking on the city’s worsening air pollution problem. As climate talks are taking place in Paris, Beijing officials recorded a PM 2.5 level of 300 early this week. That means there were 300 micrograms of tiny hazardous particles per cubic meter in the air, and that number was expected to rise until a cold front moves in, according to the Associated Press. The amount is more than 10 times higher than what the World Health Organization deems healthy.