The air quality in Beijing has raised a few eyebrows in the past and even required extra effort to clean up the sky when they hosted the 2008 Olympics. However, Beijingers are currently exposed to an even thicker layer of smog than in the past. When at its worst over the past month, it has been 25 times higher than what is considered safe air quality in the US, according to NPR.
So what is this poor air quality attributed to? It is mostly due to economic growth and production. China produces a number of goods used throughout the world. China produces a large portion of the world’s iron and steel supply and half of the world’s cement supply. This in combination with the use of coal for energy, and thousands of new cars cruising around the country daily makes the pollution rate sky rocket.
How has the pollution in Beijing affected local expats? Many expats in Beijing are openly discussing, through mediums like forums, cutting their time in China short because of the poor air quality. Additionally, last year 36 percent of 244 companies had a hard time finding senior executives who would be willing to relocate to China because of the pollution according to a survey by the American Chamber of Commerce in China.
What is the Chinese government planning to do to help this situation? They have pledged to help correct pollution in Beijing and throughout China by taking certain classes of vehicles off the road, shutting down factories, and cutting down on coal-burning energy sources and replacing them with a more green solution.
To stay healthy as an expat, make sure you know the facts about the air quality of the location you are or plan to be relocating to and that you have adequate international health insurance.
*Air pollution scene with cars on highway photo courtesy of Shutterstock