I recently read on the Internet that the air quality in the north east section of China is setting records for having dangerous levels of pollutants in the air. The assumed cause is the cities burning coal to heat their citizens’ homes. Well, not just burning coal, but burning poor quality coal.
In the northern sections of China, the heat comes on the first day of November. If you go further south, the heat will come on the 15th of November. The heat is provided from a huge system of boilers and pipes. The radiators many of us grew up with in schools are still widely used in China.
When I lived in Beijing, my apartment was on the 17th floor. The air quality was so bad that some days I couldn’t see the light poles on the streets below my apartment. The picture below was taken on a clear day.
The poor quality of the air is why you see many people wearing masks in China. Some people do this inside and outside, as you can see in the next picture.
If you have respiratory issues, you should consult your physician before visiting China. Culturally speaking, more cigarette smoking takes place inside and outside in China than in the States, so be prepared for that as well. I must commend China for their recent steps to reduce their public smoking.