A pedestrian has her mouth covered when floating fluff hit Beijing in April. Photo: VCG
The problem of floating fluff hit Beijing again this year, prompting Chinese experts to call for more eco-friendly management measures.
Many residents complain about the annual tree fluff.
"I can hardly open my eyes riding to work," Li Huihui, a female fitness coach, told the Global Times on Sunday.
But the fluff-producing female poplar and willow trees also prevent wind and dust, according to Gao Chengda, a forestry expert at the Beijing University of Agriculture.
Beijing began planting these poplar and willow trees in the 1970s and the average number of dusty days in Beijing has reportedly fallen from 26 a year in the 1950s to three a year after 2010.
Huang Qinjun, a research fellow of the research institute of forestry at the Chinese Academy of Forestry, estimated that the fluff problem will last about another 10 days.
Each female poplar tree can produce 300,000 to 1.5 million catkins every spring, or about 1 kilogram.
The main city of Beijing has about 284,000 female poplar and willow trees that produce catkins to spread their seeds every spring, the Beijing Gardening and Greening Bureau explains on its website.
The bureau has vowed to improve the situation by the end of 2020. The city has also banned female poplar and willow trees from future urban planning and is cutting down branches to prevent the seeds.
To better address the problem, Gao suggested that "We can instead plant triploid poplar trees that produce less seeds or inject medicine into existing trees to make them produce fewer seeds."
But it was "impossible and against the law of nature to totally stop them from producing seeds," Gao said.
Gao suggested removing some trees from residential areas to reduce the impact on ordinary people's daily life and leaving those in lesser-populated areas to control the impact on the environment.