Monday, November 30, 2015

Beijing Airmageddon - November 2015 Edition

Woke up today thinking after a weekend of bad air that the fog smog had cleared, sent the kiddo to school without a mask and within an hour, BOOM, the air climbs. I'm talking 200+ aqi points in like an hour. The AQI shouldn't be 200 let alone jump 200 points so fast. Turn the air purifiers on full blast, and email the teacher to make sure kiddo knows to wear her mask home. Bet none of you have ever had to write that email, "please send kiddo home wearing her air mask, the air is bad outside."

So fast forward and it just keeps climbing. Here are a few screenshots of my various air monitoring apps throughout the day. Did I mention before my iPhone has an entire folder related to air quality/weather? Sad, isn't it?

While writing this the air has peaked to 609. If you are new to this whole bad air thing, the WHO (World Health Organization) suggests AQI readings lower than 50. Oh and AQI stands for Air Quality Index. I follow the US Embassy's readings HERE.

Pictures #2 and #3 try to give a little humor to the bad air.

Taking pictures to show how bad the smog is can be tricky. My pictures never do the actual situation justice, not to mention the horrendous smell and the heavy feeling in your chest if you breath it.

Visibility is also reduced, hubby saw 6 accidents on the way home from work tonight. Darkness plus bad smog is dangerous driving conditions.

Hugging our air purifiers and praying for a strong north wind to blow the smog away and bring us blue skies.

Smog from the building around 500aqi


  1. I feel you. We had this situation in September October and only cleared in early November due to the Indonesia haze. Spikes like the one you faced were horribly common and I would be taken aback and hope the teachers would quarantine them in an aircon room somewhere. Because Singapore face haze so much less often than BJ, we were sorely unprepared as many classrooms are not air conditioned nor filter equipped. Masks were sold out in many places, and the government was proactive in ensuring that pharmacies stocked up fast and that clinics gave "haze" flat rates of $10 for those who needed to consult due to haze related ailments. They also distributed n95 3M masks to the elderly.

    Still. Hate the high index. Praying strong winds blow away the haZe. I find that rain doesn't help much (in very smog situation). I tend to think the particles dance around the drops. It still stays hazy after a rain (we experienced it many timeS).

    1. We've had 3 days of beautiful, cold weather now. It is amazing the difference!

  2. Hello. My wife and I are contemplating a move to Beijing. We have a 6 month on and worried about the air quality for him. Your post was helpful. It sounds like the really bad days aren't the norm anymore and most days are tolerable?

    1. Honestly Nick, I would disagree with that statement. Yes it is getting better, no the average day is not tolerable. It would still be considered hazardous in any other 1st world country. Having babies in Beijing was very difficult for me as I kept her inside with air purifiers unless the aqi was below 100. We could go 7-10 days sometimes without the girls leaving the house.