Beijing is one of the most polluted cities I have been too. After a few hours, my eyes were burning. Not much one can do but grit and bear it and hope that they wake up and do something about the issue.
you might have seen the news at the various news sites like CNN, BBC News, Fox News, Reuters, AFP, etc that Beijing is becoming more polluted and the air quality is not that great anymore and they had a 12 day traffic jam just last year. so if you are planning to visit beijing, be ready to have the 3M N 95 masks handy and in your travelling backpack as your might need it to filter the really bad air particulates in Beijing and also to shield your lungs at the Desert Storms that periodically go to Beijing.
US embassy issues a smog warning. Usually much different from what China announces. From what I understand Chinese people listen to the US version as it is more believable. These photos are from a day the US Embassy issued the highest pollution alert there is, Hazardous. They recommend staying indoors. This would be a good day to visit an indoor museum. As a side note, the Chinese government issued a warning that was considered "very unhealthy" the level before hazardous.
Here is a link to the US Embassy page for these alerts: US Embassy Air Quality Alerts for Beijing
I’m currently studying Chinese here in Beijing and I’m an intern on Heyrobics. Heyrobics is a fun and social way to exercise.
Before coming here, I was very worried about the pollution. Everyday I could read new articles about the bad pollution in the city so I started to search for different ways of avoiding/minimizing the risk of getting exposed to it. I searched for ages and I couldn't find any really useful information on the net.
After being here for a couple of months and still haven’t found any good ways to avoid the pollution, I finally got some good news! Another member of the Heyrobics team told me that we are planning to sell these new Totobobo masks. The Totobobo mask is designed to provide maximum protection and it is one of the best anti-pollution masks you can find on the market. And it is also from my own experience- really difficult to find in Beijing.
I bought one and now I’m wearing it almost every day, when I bike to and from school, when I'm out running and exercising! In the most polluted days you can feel a huge difference when breathing. Also by looking at the used filters you can clearly see that it really filters away a lot of the pollution!
Many of my friends and many Heyrobics members have already bought one and they think it is really efficient and useful, so my tip for you is- Buy yourself a Totobobo Mask!
You can find more information about the Totobobo mask on this website- http://issuu.com/heyrobics/docs/totobobo_for_hey_-_info_leaflet__summer_2012
Beijing suffers from extreme pollution that can hurt your eyes and make you cough，no doubt！ If you are lucky，after a heavy rain，the smog may clear for a day or two. Guangzhou has better skies because of frequent rain， but some days the smell is overhelming and gives you a headache. After living in both places， this is a serious consideration any traveller should be aware！
still dragging black chunks out of my ears and got a sore throat. seen the great wall, and the forbidden city now-- never going back. my body is not compatible with such pollution. be ready for upper respiratory problems, head aches, sore throat, and aching ears. if you know how to treat your self then plenty of pharmacies where you can get about anything. be careful of what you buy--- you may sleep for 24 hours taking a cough syrup-- loaded with codeine. otherwise go to doctor and collect a travel bag for ailments to take with you.
Pollution is a serious problem in Beijing. Specially in winter, when still many people heat their rooms with coal.
More and more cars are crowding the streets. They add to the pollution.
Even though the heating with coal is not very popular anymore, the problem of air-pollution is getting worse. A growing number of private cars and factories make it very difficult to reduce the pollution. During Olympics 2008 many factories were closed and cars could only drive on special days. There had been astonishing many days of blue sky in August 2008. Now this brouuht the problem to the minds of just everybody in Beijing. The goverment thinks about letting cars only drive on 6 days a week. In a Chinese Newspaper I have read, that riding bicycles will getting more popular in the future and maybe in about 10 yeras Beijing will be back to the times, where there were more bicycles than cars on the streets. Well, I am very curious, wether this will happen or not.
Be prepared, that after a while of walking around in Beijing you'll get a headake. Take some aspirin with you.
Being an asthmatic I was actually surprised that the air pollution wasn't so bad while we were their during Golden Week (apparently Japan & China celebrate their Golden Weeks around the same time). But, still the air pollution is bad enough to reduce visibility in China and it was getting to us a little. We could really tell the difference in air quality after my wife an I returned back to Niigata, Japan to breath in some truly fresh air.
Pollution is a huge issue in China, and Beijing doesn't escape this problem. I have asthma and it took several days for my breathing to fully regulate and get used to the poorer air quality. It of course didn't stop me from enjoying the holiday or from doing the regular tourist things (the air was fine on the great wall, if a little sandy), but it's something to be aware of and ensure you take precautions against if you have breathing issues.
Take a good supply of inhalers or whatever you take, and it's definitely worth taking or buying a face mask to wear over your mouth. Many Chinese people wear these (or use their sleeves) in the city and no-one will think you are being odd. These masks are also useful in the markets when it's hot as the smell can get a little pungent shall we say.
The pollution is very noticeable early in the morning as a heavy grey fog, a bit like an old fashioned London pea-souper. This normally lifts by mid-day but never fully goes away. The tall buildings are affected the worst by this and look very dirty. It gives the city an appearance almost akin to a post-apocalyptic scene (if you forgive the hyperbole), particularly as everything is currently being renovated and many of the tenements are being torn down to make the city look tidier.
The air is very dusty. You can taste it and feel it in your eyes and hands. To feel is to believe. You can see some people wearing masks here because of the smog and dust. This picture is from one of the lake/park in the northeast. That's not fog or some romantic mist, that's dust and other sulfuric particles in the air!!
The air in the city is very polluted and dirty.
Almost everyday the city is covered in smog. We thought the smog is because the weather is cold but no, it is because of the heavy traffic.
The weather is extremely dry too, even during summer season, it is very hot but dry. My lips cracked badly and throat was sore after a few days
The pollution in Beijing is considerable. Our entire trip, the city seemed to be fogged in with some kind of haze. We got a bit of relief out at the Ming Tombs and Great Wall, but even there, we noticed it.
If you have respiratory problems, be aware of this! Sitting in traffic is the worst, I got high from the fumes!
I just spent a week in beijing and saw blue sky for only two days. They smog is really bad and as a result I have returned to Australia wiht a chest infection. I was on a tour and one of the people on the tour had been to beijing before, he said he had bought some antibiotics with him, and as soon as he get a sore throat he was going to start taking them. not a bad idea.
The air pollution levels in Beijing can be though on visitors. Depending a bit on the time of the year, a thick pollution blanket envelops Beijing and suburbs, with exhaust fumes, coal-burning stoves and industries. A major effort is undertaken to tackle the problem, but with car purchasing adding 300.000 cars a year to the streets it is an uphill battle. Some types of air pollution will diminish, while other will increase. Dust storms from the loess areas and the Gobi add severely to the problem.
People with asthma and allergies and other ailments relating to breathing should take extra care and perhaps check first what the situation is like.
Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai are all large crowded cities with air pollution. On a clear day, it looks overcast. On the flight from Beijing (north) to Guangzhou (south) we never saw the ocean or the ground because of the heavy layer of smog. If you have asthma or emphysema, you may want to think twice about a visit to the People's Republic of China...