Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Air Quality

Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, I never really thought about air quality. Sure, there were days when the smell of cow manure would permeate the entire neighborhood, but I never had to worry about whether or not it was safe to play outside. I could simply just hold my nose.

This isn't the case in Shanghai. China's air quality is among the worst in the world, thanks to massive coal consumption and car filled streets. According to the latest Environmental Performance Index, China ranked 128th out of 132 countries for air quality. That's not exactly good.

The last few days have been some of the worst, pollution wise, that Shanghai has seen in over six months. Here is the view from our apartment earlier this summer, followed by a shot of our view Monday (which was actually taken after particle levels had dropped significantly).

Admittedly, these photos are not vastly different. Based on a glance out my window, I wasn't overly concerned about the air quality over the weekend. Which is why it's a good thing the US Consulate has started to monitor the air quality in Shanghai, complete with their own Twitter feed, to update US citizens on the current air conditions. This is what I saw when I checked it over the weekend.

Hazardous. That didn't exactly sound good. Especially after I checked this chart the Consulate provides on their website. Hazardous just happens to be the worst rating possible.

Apparently that run I took outside over the weekend was a bad idea. Whoops.

Anyone interested in checking out the current air quality in Shanghai can head over to the US Consulate's Web Site or their Twitter feed for more information.


  1. How do you find breathing in Shanghai? I hear a lot about the clouds of smoke due to all the smokers in the city.

    1. Yes, smoking is everywhere here, including restaurants. But I wouldn't say the smoking really effects the air quality. One days when the pollution is bad, you can definitely feel it in your lungs and smell it in the air.


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