To the central government, the smog that blankets the country is not just a health hazard, it's a threat to national security.
Last month visibility in Harbin dropped to below three metres because of heavy smog. On days like these, no surveillance camera can see through the thick layers of particles, say scientists and engineers.
To the authorities, this is a serious national security concern. Beijing has invested heavily to build up a nationwide surveillance network that lets police watch every major street and corner in main cities.
But with smoggy days becoming more frequent, the effectiveness of the system has been greatly compromised. Some fear terrorists may choose a smoggy day to launch attacks.
Kong Zilong, a senior project engineer with Shenzhen Yichengan Technology and an expert in video surveillance technology, said the security devices that could function in heavy smogs had yet to be invented.
Existing technology, such as infrared imaging, can help cameras see through fog or smoke at a certain level, but the smog on the mainland these days is a different story. The particles are so many and so solid, they block light almost as effectively as a brick wall.
"According to our experience, as the visibility drops below three metres, even the best camera cannot see beyond a dozen metres," he said.
His company sells products from some of the world's leading security camera makers, such as Raymax from Japan, Bewator from Britain, FLIR from the United States and VisSim from Norway.
The government has come to realise the seriousness of the issue and commissioned scientists to come up with a solution.Meanwhile, Shane Granger has tweeted the link to another report on the Chinese pollution problem, and the Beijing Air Quality Index is currently ay 192 (unhealthy).