Saturday, March 1, 2014

Smog in China - Is it as bad as they say?

There has been a lot of news about the smog in China these days so is it as bad as they say?  In one word, Yes.  The smog this year since about November has been as bad as they say.  It seems to be worse in the winter as the winds are typically from the north or north-west.  This is due to the factories in that part of China.  Beijing is known as being worse than Shanghai but it is felt we live.  Instead of having snow days in the northern part of America we have had smog days here.  

There is an index that is kept by the local government and by the US Consolate that ranges from 0 - 500 AQI (Air Quality Index).  The scale is something like:
  • 0-100 is fine, 
  • 100-150 is poor so limit outside activities, 
  • 150 - 200 is unhealthy so avoid outdoor activities, 
  • 200 - 300 is very unhealthy, masks recommended, avoid outdoor actitivities,
  • over 300 is severely polluted with the same recommendations.
We have had school closings when it is over 300.  There was a week in December that it was over 300 so the kids were home for a few days...

This is about a 200 level day

Visibility is less than 1 km.

Walking on the streets you can see the haziness.

Especially highlighted by the night lights.

This was a 300+ day.  You could even see
this in the corridors of work.

That building is about 500 meters away.

Here is the iPhone app.  This was a 500+
reading that shows it as 'Beyond Index'.

Yes, we do have a couple of masks that we
have stylishly worn.
Not all bad though

A good AQI day!  
There are many good days though that clean out our lungs, thank God!  The AQI is also a great excuse for going on vacations to get out of China.