Beijing Companies Give Face Masks to Employees image

Toyota, Honda, Apple Inc and JPMorgan Chase & Co. gave their employees face masks and added office plants as Beijing heads towards the 19th day of hazardous pollution levels.

Beijing’s government advised the 20 million citizens to stay indoors as the local environmental monitoring center rated the air quality at the worst level on its six-level scale. A U.S. Embassy pollution monitor said that the air quality in Beijing reached hazardous levels for the 5th consecutive day. Companies in the cities have taken several measures to protect the health of their employees.

“Over the next few years the quality of life in Beijing will be something that has an impact on salaries,” said Simon Lance, Shanghai-based regional director at Hays Plc.

Today, February 1st, Shanghai issued a haze warning advising people with respiratory problems to stay indoors. Toyota has added more green plants in its offices to help with air quality and air purifiers for every two workstations. JPMorgan has offered emergency kits including masks and gave health tips to its workers. Honda has also provided face masks to almost 100 employees in Beijing.

Premier Wen Jiabao said during a State Council meeting that China should increase its efforts to conserve energy and seriously think about its environmental responsibilities. The country aims at controlling energy consumption at about 4.1 billion tons of standard coal annually by 2015.