All Posts / China 2013

Daily Life: Pollution

It’s been making international headlines from what I can see, but in case you haven’t heard, earlier this weekend, Shanghai experienced some of its most record-breaking smog-filled pollution days.  On the pollution scale index that goes from  0-500, it hit over 500.  And in case you’re wondering, anything over ~400 is considered “hazardous:  everyone will feel side affects”.  GROSS.

I really wanted to stay inside all day to avoid getting sick (I got a horrible headache from going to and from class alone….a two minute commute, mind you), but I had an obligation to teach my little kiddies English since it was Friday, so I bought myself a mask and braved the pollution.

In one word?  Gross.

But also super smelly and just baffling.  Anything that had any kind of fumes or smells could be smelled from blocks away, including cigarette smoke and/or construction fumes.  It was overwhelming.  I was so glad to have the mask!  And what was perhaps even more overwhelming was seeing everyone going about their day like it was normal — not everyone was wearing masks as I had expected, and people were STILL just casually smoking and driving their cars as if it was a completely normal day and there was no pollution (my thought:  shouldn’t this all be BANNED if the smog is this thick?!).

So yeah, it was gross and smelly.  Here are a few pictures to prove it.

YUCK.

YUCK.

Standing in the middle of the street and looking down, you can see just how smoggy the city is.  So yucky.

Standing in the middle of the street and looking down, you can see just how smoggy the city is. So yucky.

This is right outside of the school I teach English at; normally, on a good day, you can see the Pearl Tower and the Bottle Cap building sticking out between those other two buildings.  Not today.

This is right outside of the school I teach English at; normally, on a good day, you can see the Pearl Tower and the Bottle Cap building sticking out between those other two buildings. Not today.

Kind of hard to see, but in the middle there is the tallest building on Fudan University's campus.  Once again, invisible on a day like today.

Kind of hard to see, but in the middle there is the tallest building on Fudan University’s campus. Once again, invisible on a day like today.

I've never seen the sun look like this before.  It was almost moon-like.  It was crazy.  I felt like I was a part of an apocalypse or something...

I’ve never seen the sun look like this before. It was almost moon-like. It was crazy. I felt like I was a part of an apocalypse or something…

I really thought that by coming to Shanghai, I would luck out and not have to deal with high levels of pollution.  Well, I was wrong!  Thankfully, it’s gone back down to mostly “normal” levels by now… and by normal I mean only in the 200-range (my roommate mentioned that Boston was around 30 if that’s any comparison).  Hopefully it continues to shape up… I’ll cross my fingers.

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