Via the South China Morning Post: South Korea’s solution to smog: eat more pork. Excerpt:
Sales of pork have skyrocketed in South Korea, largely thanks to an old superstition that claims eating the meat helps the body dispose of pollutants taken in from breathing smog.
Homeplus, the second largest chain of Korean discount retail stores, reported that pork belly and leg sales rose 32 per cent in the first week of December with over 150 tonnes sold in total, Global Times reported, citing economic research in The Seoul Economic Daily.
The reason for pork’s sudden popularity is tied with South Korea’s increasing air smog, an intensifying issue the country has inherited from eastern mainland China.
Korea’s environmental ministry recently classified the density of Seoul’s daily air pollution as a level three out of six, and local media reports have gone so far as to call the Korean capital’s smog problem an “air raid” from China.
Precautions taken by Korean citizens have led to spikes in the sale of face masks and oral cleansers, and this trend has now spread to pork.
According to Kang Hyung-sik, a Homeplus livestock supplier interviewed by The Seoul Economic Daily, the unsaturated fatty acids in pork can effectively discharge heavy metal particles such as arsenic and lead that accumulate in the lungs after breathing in pollutants.
There is no actual scientific proof linking pork consumption with these effects, but Kang’s statements are analogous with the traditional Korean belief that pork belly – called “samgyeopsal” in Korean - is a health food rich in vitamin B that can lower cholesterol, detoxify the lungs and cleanse the skin.
In another report, SCMP says sales of air purifiers and masks have "gone through the roof in China." Meanwhile Beijing AQI reports a mere 74 (moderate) for Beijing at 8:00 a.m. Wednesday in Beijing, and numbers below 200 (unhealthy) in Shanghai, Chengdu, Nanjing and Guangzhou. And reports for Seoul are in the low two digits, numbers China can only dream about. I have no idea what the Koreans are complaining about.