Beijing man blames bad air for divorce

A tourist wearing a face mask climbs Jingshan Hill beside the Forbidden City as heavy air pollution continues to shroud Beijing on February 26, 2014. Beijing's official reading for PM 2.5, small airborne particles which easily penetrate the lungs and have been linked to hundreds of thousands of premature deaths, stood at 501 micrograms per cubic metre.

BEIJING - A Beijing man is seeking to divorce his wife after she took their son to a tropical island province to escape the capital's notorious smog.

He said the long-distance relationship had destroyed their marriage, state media reported yesterday.

The man, known only as Mr Wang, married the woman in 2008. They had a son two years later, the Beijing Times reported.

But their son developed serious health problems due to the capital's poor air quality and his wife took the son to the southern resort island of Hainan to escape the haze, Reuters reported.

But Mr Wang's wife did not like Hainan, and neither did she like living apart from him. Whenever the two met, they fought, the report said.

Fed up with this, Mr Wang has filed for divorce in a Beijing court, Beijing Times reported.

"Smog 'buried' my son's health, and it has 'buried' my marriage," the newspaper quoted Mr Wang as saying.

The case is pending with the court, the report added.

It did not say what his wife thought of the divorce proposal.

Meanwhile, alarmed by pollution in Beijing, authorities have cracked down on smoky outdoor grills beginning yesterday. The move will hit the city's popular kebab stalls, state media reported.

During the Chinese capital's sweltering summers, many residents gather round sidewalk tables, drinking beer and eating food cooked on the street.

The ban, which also targets eateries serving popular cold dishes, is intended to help preserve food safety and control smog, state-owned China News Service reported on its website.

Popular snacks, like garlic cucumber salad and cold tofu skin, will likely no longer be sold outdoors, the news report said.

Grills where skewers of lamb, beef, chicken wings and vegetables are cooked must be moved inside.

Years of unfettered economic growth have taken their toll on China's environment and pollution is a major source of public dissatisfaction and unrest.

The Chinese government has said tackling pollution is a priority. But it has done little about the smog that blights the lives of millions.

This article was published on May 2 in The New Paper.Get The New Paper for more stories.