Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A bedtime story about pollution.

I have a new weather forecast to get used to. Its called pollution showers. Lately we have had a very bad case of pollution here in Shanghai. Its nasty, its gross, and it will suck your soul. I knew that the air quality would not be the best when we moved, but I didn't think it would be this bad. We have apps on our phones that alert us of the AQI everyday. (That stands for Air Quality Index). Lately it has been in the 200's and this week a few days were above 300. To give you a comparison, Los Angeles usually has an an AQI of 50. When it is above 200 the US Consulate sends us a little text that says something like, "Hey, its bad out there, folks! Take cover!" Usually it just means, stay inside and limit your outdoor experience. 
I am so glad that we have air purifiers in all of the rooms in our house. It gives me a peace of mind. Usually these days I just stay at home and do homework. If I do go outside, I limit my activity and try and keep it to a minimum. (Its hard to stay inside when you rely on public transportation and walking to get anywhere.)

Heres some pictures from our house on "bad days." I think I will probably freak my dear Mother out.

 I recently just went and bought a mask to keep me and the peanut a little more healthy. Studies have always argued if the masks even do anything to help the situation or keep you safe at all. I'd rather just wear it and look silly, than risk it. The good thing is, seeing people wearing masks around town is nothing out of the ordinary here, its a common accessory! I actually feel more normal wearing one than I did before.

My first day here was the worst pollution day (Above 350 AQI). The schools had indoor activities and we were in "emergency status". Which means...kind of nothing. People still have to go outside to function, and theres not a whole lot besides that that you can do. That first day I was also not very aware of the severity of the pollution and went out on my merry way. The next day I woke up very phlegmy and congested. My chest hurt and it was a bit hard to breathe. That was a good wake up call. I am smarter now, and I realize I am not superwoman with lungs of steel. Although i have the "luxury" of staying indoors on "bad days" I worry about my sweet Husband who has to go to work and even stay outdoors on site during his work day. I am a little annoying with all of my, "Are you wearing your mask, babe?" text messages.

So there you have live and you learn. You stay indoors when you can't see the buildings, and you try and avoid all rush hour transportation. We should just invent body least then i'd be able to visit the mall.

And lets look on the bright side, at least we don't live in Beijing! Heres a picture of their pollution that I found online. (a good day on the left. a very bad day on the right.)