Before we left Wellington at the end of August 2015 for our overseas holiday I was finding out about Shanghai and its dirty air.
I was a bit alarmed this morning to read about Shanghai’s current lack of wind bringing record high air pollution. Tomorrow we’ll be arriving in that city, and it sounds as though we should avoid breathing ….
I relive last year’s fantastic holiday by bringing posts over from the trip blog. This doesn’t aim to be identical to the trip blog, but an improvement, with text edits and more / better photos. Find all these posts under the tag: Spain2015.
The air in Shanghai was heavily polluted yesterday, as the air quality index (AQI) hit 213 at 1pm. …
“The recent lack of wind was the major cause of the latest round of pollution as there was nothing to diffuse the particles,” an official from the center told Shanghai Daily on condition of anonymity. …
Between June and August 2013, there were 12 days of moderate or heavy pollution. …
The concentration of PM2.5 particles soared to about 160 micrograms per cubic meter yesterday noon, six times the guideline set by the World Health Organization.
The article didn’t explain what
PM2.5 means so I went looking. It turns out it means very fine particles of pollution, likely to be toxic organic compounds and heavy metals:
The small particles are smaller than 2.5 micrometers (100 times thinner than a human hair). These particles are called PM2.5 (we say “P M two point five”, as in Particulate Matter up to 2.5 micrometers in size).
The smaller particles are lighter and they stay in the air longer and travel farther. PM10 (big) particles can stay in the air for minutes or hours while PM2.5 (small) particles can stay in the air for days or weeks. And travel? PM10 particles can travel as little as a hundred yards or as much as 30 miles. PM2.5 particles go even farther; many hundreds of miles.
This all turned out to be highly relevant. We arrived on 29 August 2015, right into thick air pollution. Any slightly distant building was obscured by haze.
But given the number of two-wheeled vehicles and how many seemed to be electric, it seems people are working on doing something about it.
30 August 2015: Shanghai yesterday had visible air pollution. Buildings not too far away are obscured by the haze in the air.
We walked amongst crowds of people and in tiny, busy streets. One problem is that I’m not good in crowds and didn’t take the time I should have taken to really frame my pictures and figure out what exactly I was taking a photo of. Look for better photos from now on.
Oh, and those crowds: the whole of New Zealand has a population of about 4.5 million. Shanghai’s population is 26 million — 6 people for every one in New Zealand!
We wandered round older parts of Shanghai near our hotel. We were heading for the Yuyuan Gardens and The Bund but got a bit lost, a bit caught up in throngs of people and traffic, caught in the rain.
We saw some interesting things though, like the old buildings down outside the entrance to the gardens, and the old Tao temple, which was much bigger than I’d expected.
Deb successfully bartered with a stall holder for a straw sunhat, in spite of not speaking any of the local language.
We also ended up in a tea shop in Gucheng Park, across the road from Yuyuan Gardens. It was a very pleasant environment. We sat outside by the small lake watching the fish, enjoying the air and sheltering from the rain. Deb had a coke for about NZ$5 and I ordered what I thought was a cup of green tea. It arrived in a pot and with two cups and was delicious. When I went to pay though the bill was $187 yuan, around NZ$50. The price for that pot of tea had been on the next page of the menu and I hadn’t looked at it. My tea was an outrageous NZ$40! Unbelievable! And a good lesson in reading the menu carefully before ordering.
Urgh. I’m finding I didn’t label my photos immediately after returning to New Zealand, so now, of course, am confused about where exactly some of them were taken. At least I know these were in Shanghai!