Travel Preparation

Pollution in China

Beijing has cultivated a reputation as a polluted city and it is hard to deny that the Chinese capital faces some tough environmental challenges.

Beijing can be polluted at any time of the year, however, the smog is mostly present during the winter, when increased coal burning, combined with stagnant weather patterns, contribute to the accumulation of harmful PM 2.5 particles over the city.

Beijing is not the only city affected; other cities across China also register high levels of air pollution, particularly in the heavy industrial zones of northern China.

While pollution may provoke some short term effects such as headaches or increased nasal irritation your lifespan will not be shortened if you visit China for a few days, weeks or months.

Nevertheless, there are two things that can help you cope with air pollution when you're traveling in Beijing and other regions in China.

The first thing you will need is an air quality monitoring app or website. You can download an app, such as AirVisual or China Air Quality Index, to check the pollution levels in the city you're visiting, or you can look up pollution figures on the US Embassy air quality website.

The second thing is purchasing a face mask. Many Chinese people wear pollution masks, so you will not stick out or look strange if you use one too. You can find plenty of information online to help you decide which kind of mask fits your requirements. You can find a list of five popular anti pollution mask choices here.

You don’t need to wear your anti-pollution mask 24/7 but it will give you peace of mind if the air pollution readings are high or if you are spending a long time outside walking or doing another form of exercise.

Contact our staff if you would like us to purchase a mask for you before you begin your trip to China.

Keep in mind that simple cotton or surgical masks don't really filter the air. While they're readily available and sold almost everywhere, they're useless when it comes to protecting you from harmful PM 2.5 particles.

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