Vivian, an American expat living in China, has been in Shanghai for more than 10 years but this was the first time she saw the city covered under such a thick layer of smog. “That’s enough and I am moving back to US in 2015," she said while taking a photo of the smog in her neighborhood from the window of her apartment. It was noon time (see photo).
On December 6, 2013, Shanghai’s municipal EPA released data showing that the local Air Quality Index (AQI) was 416, indicating severe air pollution.
Beijing’s lung cancer patients have increased by 50% in the past 10 years. Air pollution is considered as one of the causes. “I moved from Beijing to Shanghai to escape from Beijing’s air pollution. Now Shanghai is catching up with Beijing”, one resident said.
In the beginning of this year, Beijing’s persistent, pitch-dark smog made many people living in other cities especially in the south China secretly glad that they did not live there. Just a few months later, the same people take their turn: Smog has spread to the south and facial masks suddenly became a fashion in dozens of cities. In December, 25 Chinese provinces have experienced varying degrees of smog according to the Chinese Central Meteorological Observatory, and Shanghai has twice issued severe air pollution alarm. Hundreds of flights were cancelled in Shanghai’s airports. Traffic accidents increased. Some industrial facilities were told to limit or stop production. Shanghai’s Yangshan Port was locked out. The government and businesses were also ordered to cut off the business use of vehicles by 30%.
The good news: According to the weather forecast, it would be cold and windy next Monday. Then Shanghai’s smog episode will be relieved.