If you happened to be near the U.K.'s Department for Transport in London on April 27, 2016, you may have spotted this alarming scene:


Fortunately, it was a staged event. These were protesters, and they were perfectly safe and sound, out of harm's way. However, the crisis they're bringing to light is, unfortunately, pretty disturbing all on its own.

London has an air pollution problem, and it's putting the lives of city residents at stake.

The "die-in" protest, organized by Stop Killing Cyclists, brought 250 supporters onto the streets to demand cleaner air. Their staged deaths were meant to symbolize all the people air pollution silently kills in Britain each year — upward of 50,000, according to a bipartisan report from Parliament released this week.

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In a symbolic gesture to show just how dirty Beijing's skies have become, one man decided to make the problem a bit more ... tangible.

Wang Renzheng, whose artistic name is Jianguo Xiongdi, or "Nut Brother," walked around Beijing with a vacuum cleaner a few hours every day literally sucking the smog out of the city's air.

His goal? To make a brick out of his collection.

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League of Conservation Voters