an ordinary morning in beijing…?

I had a lot of people asking about the pollution over the weekend – sadly Beijing and many Eastern and Northern parts of China were on the news everywhere with the  pollution levels going way over the scale – apparently the highest measure recorded was over 900, when the scale ends in 500, and the Worldwide definition for clean air that everyone should have is 25! As a generic rule we don’t usually go outside if the pollution goes over 200, for even measures above 100 are bad for asthma sufferers – and there are three of us in our family!

Therefore we stayed in all those nasty days. This morning it was looking to be going into a better direction: we woke up with a measure of 99, but by the time we made to the school it was again nearly 170. however, we managed to see some sun and even blue sky. The kids school is outside the city centre and most of the time the air is way better there…Anyway, let me present an ordinary drive to school: not so many things to see due to the fog… although the potential on a clear day is to spot some impressive buildings, few temples and pretty landscape too!

Beijing pollution day
Our 1h drive to school starts. Kids are screaming excitedly: “Look mommy we can see the sun and it’s red today!”
Beijing pollution day - just over 100
Since we are heading out of the city the traffic is relatively lighted than going into the city. Pollution level 99 and visibility maybe 150m (150+ yards)

Beijing pollution day - 100+ The day is getting lighter, but the visibility is getting worse

Beijing pollution day - 1h from 99 to 168  Approaching the airport, meaning that we are more on the countryside. Visibility down to 100m or so

Sun's going up - Beijing pollution day The sun is going up: pretty colours but so much haze around still

Road toll area - clearing up a bit
Exiting the highway after these road tolls, outside the city and a bit clearer for a while

Beijing pollution morning
I spy blue sky! I can’t remember when I last saw this sight

Pollution and more... But sadly this is a sight one sees everywhere, around d80% of the energy is produced by burning coal and those places are scattered around the housing and all over the city. The same goes for factories, this one is very close to the kids school…

Back to hazardous air.. But sadly looks can be deceiving. In three hours the pollution has jumped from 99 and 319, which normally is considered as an emergency reading. This is the city centre reading though, and ours is a bit less at the moment. However, an hour in the car and just few minutes outside and my eyes are burning, my throat hurts and I’ve got a slight headache. I really feel bad for those hundreds of millions of Chinese people who have to spend their whole life  in these conditions.

Moving on...  And day two of the packing started. So our story in China is coming to an end; much sooner than expected, but under the circumstances of the pollution levels I am quite happy to be leaving to the vibrant London. Note the local newspaper on the table – this is the first time ever the Chinese government is letting country’s papers to write so openly about the issues. In the picture poor kids going to school wear face masks in order to avoid pollution as well as the spread of flu as people have not been taking their flu shots. Not a very nice lifestyle…What is now more of a norm morning should only be an exception!


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