A bizarre advert being shown in China features men, women, children and even dogs with scarily long nasal hair – in a bid to show how to tackle climate change.

The ad, from Wild Aid's GOblue programme, aims to encourage people in China to make changes to their lifestyle in order to combat air pollution, particularly in large, smoggy cities.

Wild Aid said on its website: "The first major PSA from GOblue, "Hairy Nose" is an eye-catching and thought-provoking concept that projects the issue of air pollution into the distant future.

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"In this world, nose hair has evolved to filter pollution and has led to activities, fashion and culture centred on the now-prominent facial features. In the face of this, one man refuses to accept the pollution and shaves his nose hair in defiance. The message for current urban residents is clear: Change air pollution before it changes you."

The organisation said it wanted to use humour to get the message across, and cited one of its recent reports which found 90% of people surveyed were worried about air pollution – not surprising when considering last year the majority of cities in China failed to meet World Health Organization air quality standards.

It is believed millions of people will see the adverts, which are to be played on screens in the back of taxis, on social media, on screens in subway stations and on six TV channels, with the organisation hoping people will be inspired to make changes such as cycling rather than driving to work.