China's air is bad. Most people know that. But, I wasn't prepared for it to be as bad as it is. When I inquired about the air quality problems in Jinan to the Facebook group for expats living here, I was told that it was nothing to worry about and that we shouldn't waste our money on filtration masks. Maybe it's because I was lucky enough to grow up in a place that looks like that photo, have never smoked and grew up around nonsmokers, but I notice the air. I noticed it getting off the plane and it still bothers me when I leave my apartment. I couldn't go for a run this morning because the AQI was over 230. I'll be ordering those masks tomorrow. They aren't cheap, but my lovely mother has offered to purchase them for us.
I'm not sure why the other expats aren't worried about it. It does make me feel like a bit of a nerd (nothing new). But, enough studies have been done on the air quality here for me to know that the detriment to respiratory health is real. I've met people with chronic lung ailments. I wouldn't wish one on anybody. It makes me very sad for the people here. They deserve safe air. Everyday.
Luckily, I heard on the news today that the government is implementing new AQI tracking procedures and new laws to clean up the air. If I heard correctly, the goal is to reduce pollution in the badly affected cities by 15-20% by 2015. Part of the problem are the steel factories just outside the city. I guess many Chinese factories work outside the regulations.
I am fairly certain that China's space program is actually a search for new air.
While I was being pithy and searching for that clip, I found something else:
Neither of those are quite sci-fi enough, so this is what Ian and I will wear to our dystopian ...present.