Spring is finally in the air but that's not all – those annoying catkins are too!
The irritating, flying fuzz causes a great deal of distress in Beijing from provoking allergies to causing fires. So much so that the city's municipal government has been brainstorming ways to get rid of those pesky floaters once and for all.
Their current game plan? By using flower inhibitors on female poplar and willow trees, the main suspects of the city's catkin influx, officials hope to decrease catkin production levels drastically, as reported by Xinhua.
Substitutes for these trees are also being considered. Once planted for their strong rates of survival and overall low upkeep, these tree types are now consequently terrorizing the city air.
Strong efforts were made last year as well, when the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Landscape and Forestry had announced that it would be replacing trees and attempting "sex reassignment," a method involving hormone injections. This was part of the 'Millions of Male Poplars' initiative, launched by the city in 1994, when the battle first begun.
The intent was to wipe out the catkins completely by 2020. Whether or not this is plausible, remains to be seen. Or, well – not seen.
For now, Beijing residents know to keep their masks handy during the catkin's three-week reign.