Our ongoing Breathless in Beijing series continues with Han Jiahui, an engineer at the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) in Haidian. Below, he recommends a few quality brands of purifiers and masks, talks about reassuring his daughter on the most darkly polluted of days, and more.
I installed a new Sharp air purifier system in our new house. Several of my friends bought this brand of filter and recommended that I do the same. I also bought some green plants that can absorb harmful gases.
To tell you the truth, we cannot ensure that my daughter breathes perfectly clean air at her kindergarten. But I saw the staff also trying to improve the air environment by installing a purifier. Also, on heavily polluted days, the teachers stop children’s outdoor activities. I also bought some European or American masks, like Vogmasks or 3M masks, for teachers to give to the students. They’re expensive, but I think they are very necessary.
When the AQI index reaches 200 or more, my wife and I keep our little girl indoors. I will drive her most places, in order to help her avoid contact with the outside air when we have to go out. I also installed an air purifier in the car.
Our girl is quite young, so she does not understand what pollution is. But sometimes she will ask me why she can‘t see the sun. I don’t know how to answer her, so I always say: "Maybe in a few days the sun will come back."
On blue sky days, I like to climb mountains in the northwest of the city, or enjoy the beauty view of Beijing while drinking coffee at the top of a skyscraper in the CBD.
Because of my work, I often travel around the country. But in most Chinese cities, the pollution is very serious. There is less and less fresh air. So, if I could choose one place with my favorite, freshest air, I would pick the mountains of Guizhou or Tibet. At least there is no industrialization there.
Photos: Courtesy of Han Jiahui.