We hope we’re not the first ones to break this to readers, but air pollution in Beijing is unfortunately just a fact of life. Though it does bring a damper on a good day, most of the haze lingers during winter, as household coal burning from neighboring zones, like Hubei, is a major source of pollution.
What’s In It?
The Beijing government has pointed to several sources of air pollution, including but not limited to, car exhaust, coal burning, factory production waste, fireworks (during Chinese New Year), paper burning (during traditional holidays), and cooking waste. The upside is, according to statistical trends, the air pollution should improve with time and further government restrictions.
Dealing With It
Since Beijing pollution is a fact of life, staying indoors unequipped and unguarded will not help to deal with the smog blues, but only make you feel worse. Even once you purchase the equipment to help you physically, keep in mind that there is the potential for mental health troubles due to pollution. Scan the QR code for more information. [QR A]
Though air pollution is often the largest concern for most families, don’t forget to check for other indoor pollutants, like lead painting in older buildings, and water vapor from showerheads. Check out more information about these pollutants by scanning the QR code.
This is our checklist for what you need to protect yourself and your family whether inside or outside.
|Inside the Home||Out and About|
|– Air purifiers
– Air monitor
– Tape for drafts on windows
– DIY pollution stopper for door drafts
– Plenty of crafts for indoor days
– Showerhead filter
– Water filter or ordered water
|– Mask for adults and children
– Portable air quality monitor or
– Pollution app and data for phone (see p 32)
– List of places with air filtration inside,
see p 18 for more information
Other than actual testing in a lab and material of mask, fit is king. The cost of the mask doesn’t matter as much as the fit on the face, so make sure to follow these guidelines.
1: To test the fit around the nose, put on a pair of glasses and see if steam fogs up the lenses.
2: The nose should have a tight fit around the nose bone using a wire or plastic seal.
3: Not all masks are reusable, but some are washable and some need replacement filters. Some masks are not
able to filter out oil-based pollutants, while others are. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.
4: Without a seal all the way around the face, the mask is essentially worthless.
5: Some masks have parts and should be regularly cleaned according to manufacture’s guidelines.
Exercise – Don’t Skip It
One way to keep smog blues at bay, but is often overlooked, is exercising indoors even when pollution is heavy. When the smog is heavy, you might not feel like staying fit, but a little bit of exercise will go a long way in helping mind and body. These supplies are easily found on either JD.com, Taobao.com, Decathlon, or other area sports stores. Remember that kids and adults both need appropriate play.
Tents and tunnels
Dance and other workout videos
Expo markers for windows and floor tile
Colored tape for PE type games
Stationary bike set up
Balls and blow up pool
Curious about more?
Scan for a roundup of many different articles covering air and household pollutants.
Photo, “Foggy Penalties”, provided by Tiffany Raab, Year 13, British School of Beijing, Shunyi
This article originally appeared on p 38-39 of beijingkids May 2017 Home & Relocation Guide.
Download the digital copy here.