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February 8, 2013

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Traffic police to use masks on poor air quality days

SHANGHAI traffic police are supplying officers on duty along some downtown roads with masks to help protect them from air pollution.

The masks, not standard equipment for traffic police, will be used during days with severe pollution and haze.

Not all traffic police stations are supplying masks. It is not known if it will become standard citywide.

"It's not the first time that front-line traffic police face harsh conditions," said a police officer surnamed Sun. "Vehicle emissions and waste from construction sites have been consistent threats long before the recent air pollution."

The use of masks will depend on where the officers work.

Sun said officers had masks when working close to construction sites years ago when the city built the Hongqiao Transport Hub.

During days of serious pollution recently in cities like Shanghai and Beijing, some called for supplying masks for those who work outdoors such as traffic police. An online campaign was also launched, calling for traffic police to be allowed to wear masks, and it gained the support of many celebrities.

"We thank people for caring for us," said a traffic officer on duty yesterday at Zhongshan Road N. and Quyang Road. Officers at the intersection were among the first in the city to get masks.

"The good thing is that it can remove some pollutants," said the police officer, who declined to be named. "While the bad thing is that we cannot wear masks often."

The officer said they take off masks when dealing with violators. "People would think that it's impolite to talk to them while we wear masks."


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