Each morning I peer out a window in my fifth floor apartment here in Anyang, China. This has become an important habit for me. My morning visual check of the outside environment is not only about seeing if I’ll need an umbrella or not. I peer outside each morning to see how polluted the air is.
Peering outside on Christmas morning, I saw that Anyang was blanketed in what looked like heavy fog. I knew better than to assume that what I saw was merely fog. I checked an online weather application, which reported that the relatively humidity was only 32%. Dense fog can’t exist in dry air. I knew then that it would be another day of ghastly air pollution in central China. I knew it would be another day to limit my outdoor exposure and wear a mask while commuting by bike to work. The pictures that accompany this blog post give you a good idea of how bad the pollution gets here.
There are many things I love about China. I love the culture. I love the food. I love the vibrancy of its cities. I love the holidays that are steeped in ancient traditions. I love the music. I love strolling in my neighborhood and buying fruits and vegetables from street vendors. I love the smiles of the people and their curiosity. Sadly, the severe air pollution in central and northern China negates all the great things about living in China. Breathing is supposed to be life giving, not life taking.
It’s only recently that China has begun to address its massive air pollution problems. The problem is so enormous and out of control, it will take a number of years and a lot of money before the air in many places is fit to breathe.