If there’s one thing nobody wants, it’s really long nose hairs. Which is perhaps why Clean Air Asia has decided to start visualizing each person’s air pollution exposure as super-long, disgusting nose hairs. The group says:
The more dirty air you breathe, the more nose hair you need. Today, 70% of developing Asian cities have harmful levels of fine particulate pollution. These are impurities that enter your nose and penetrate your lungs. It causes over 800,000 premature deaths in Asia every year.
See how much nose hair you need to survive without clean air in your city.
You can then search your city and “style your nose hair” to cut your emissions. Each city has different levels of offensive nasal locks—with Baguio in the Philippines featuring people who’d resemble some sort of Rapunzel from the land of Shnoz.
This might be a really weird way to visualize air pollution, but it’s also not entirely out of left field. The City Fix writes:
Studies have found that more nose hair gives individuals a three times less likely chance of developing asthma, and the hairy nose metric demonstrates just how vital hirsute nostrils must be to deal with a dirty air epidemic that the World Health Organization notes kills 1.3 million people globally: 800,000 (about 61.5-percent) of those are in Asia.
So perhaps as air gets worse, we really will evolve more nose hair. In which case this image isn’t so weird after all, and perhaps even more compelling than these before and after pictures of China’s smog problem.
More from Smithsonian.com: