Shanghai’s Suffocating, “Unhealthy” Smog

It’s coming for us. It’s coming for us all.

This was the view from my apartment (on the 18th floor in downtown Shanghai” early this afternoon. There’s nothing quite like looking out the window and feeling your lungs quiver with  fear at the prospect of inhaling this:

The view from my apartment in Huangpu, Shanghai. This is not rain. This is not fog. It’s smog.



The photos posted above were snapped at around 12:35 p.m today, when the AQI was hovering at 187. The higher the AQI level – which ranges from 0 to 500 (and yes, I’ve experienced 500-level days in China) – the more pollution is hovering in the air. Including PM 2.5, a particulate matter that lodges itself deep into the lungs and can potentially lead to a string of health problems — including asthma, heart attacks and premature death for people with respiratory or cardiovascular diseases.

An AQI under 50 is considered “good.” When it reaches “unhealthy” levels – which is basically every day in many Chinese cities – “everyone may begin to experience some adverse health effects,” according to

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