Friday, February 17, 2012

How bad is air pollution right now?

News about air quality in Shanghai often comes couched in phrases like "medium polluted" or with references from "fog" rolling in from interior provinces. That's right, in China fog rolls toward the ocean.

That's okay though because I have my own internal particulate-matter reader: I am a pretty sniffy person. I have allergies. Anywhere I move they belatedly follow, always adjusting to new things they decide offend them. When I was a kid, it was dandelions and the high pollen count of Alaskan summers. Now I'm in Shanghai and, since there are no plants, it's dust/pollution/crappy air. It's always worst in the mornings and I'm rather self-conscious because that's when I have one-on-one Chinese class and often enough my teacher has to watch me blow my nose six or seven times. These past few weeks have been blessedly snot-free. It's also been off-and-on rainy and damp for the duration. This morning I had to get up and retrieve tissues. "The weather must be dryer today?" I asked her (I hadn't been out yet). She laughed, yes.

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