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Photo Of Man Walking His Dog Is What The Future Looks Like For All Of Us

It seems like an everyday image: A man out walking his dog.

A man and his dog, both wearing masks, walk along a small alley on a hazy day in Beijing, February 23, 2014. REUTERS/Legal Evening/Liu Chang

A man and his dog, both wearing masks, walk along a small alley on a hazy day in Beijing, February 23, 2014. REUTERS/Legal Evening/Liu Chang

Except for one thing: Both human and nonhuman animals are donning masks so that they can breathe.

The image, from 2014, was shot in China's capital city, Beijing, on a day when the city raised its four-tiered air pollution alert system to "orange," according to Reuters.

Since then, people have discovered that air pollution in Beijing is even worse than they originally thought - breathing the air there is tantamount to smoking 40 cigarettes a day, a study released this year says.

But China isn't the only one making the only planet we've got poisonous for humans and animals. In the ranking of the earth's worst polluting countries, the U.S. is a close runner-up.

You may have never seen anything like this image before - but you surely will in the future.

Learn about the many little, everyday things you could do to help the planet here.

Have a tip? Email sarahv@thedodo.com.