Shanghai’s pollution makes it almost impossible to breathe or even see in the city [6 pics]

December 6, 2013 | By Rob Toledo | 6 comments

The photos below show it all, as Shanghai has announced pollution levels are at an all time high. Even just looking at the pictures almost makes my lungs burn. The main factors are coal burning, car exhaust, and weather patterns.

Alan Yu, a chef in Shanghai, mocks the smog by describing the taste like you would describe wine…

Today, Shanghai air really has a layered taste. At first, it tastes slightly astringent with some smokiness. Upon full contact with your palate, the aftertaste has some earthy bitterness, and upon careful distinguishing you can even feel some dust-like particulate matter.

The Guardian is reporting that the city is taking drastic measures by keeping all schoolchildren indoors and halting construction in the city. These photos make it obvious why…

shanghai pollution (1)

shanghai pollution (2)

shanghai pollution (3)

shanghai pollution (4)

shanghai pollution (5)

shanghai pollution (6)

(via Hacker News)

Rob Toledo

Rob is a stereotypical Seattleite who loves coffee, technology, music, and complaining about the rain. He's always happy to chat about the next big thing on the internet.

He also runs a movie and TV blog, The Best of Netflix.

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  1. Ed says:

    There are 9 cities in the US with a population over 1 million.
    There are over 160 in China with a population over 1 million.

  2. Michelle says:

    I lived in China for about a year in 2011-2012, in a city about the size of NYC. (It wasn’t even in the top ten biggest Chinese cities.) I love dark & stormy or cloudy days, so at first I just kept telling myself it was a beautiful cloudy day, not pollution. But then it got really bad. When I started to be able to taste it and feel the particles on my tongue, there was no way to spin that into a “beautiful cloudy day”. The chef is not kidding about tasting it. It feels grainy, kind of like breathing small particles of dirt would be (which is essentially what it is.) It’s really disgusting and gross.

    There were actually mountains very close to my city, but there were only about 3 or 4 days the entire year where the air was clear enough to see them. And when it was that clear, you just couldn’t believe how close they were (I’m talking ride your bike there in an hour or less close!) Normally, they were completely obscured. One of my physically active American friends actually had to move away from the city into a country town because his lungs started to get the same damage a smoker’s lungs would have. The doctors told him the fact that he exercised a lot outside led to him breathing the pollution in more deeply than others.

    I told some Chinese friends that I wanted to go to Harbin, a city in the far north of China, and they all said don’t go – that there was so much pollution there that you had to wear a mask all the time or your nostrils would be stained black.

  3. Benjamin says:

    Michelle— I’m currently living in Qingdao and have been for the last three years. For our first two years, the pollution wasn’t that bad at all. Last year towards the end of winter it was getting a little worse, but now this year it’s the entire eastern seaboard that has pollution, including our own city. It’s gotten pretty awful. However, I still feel called to my work here and will stick it out, but I too know people who have moved or relocated to find places less polluted.

  4. Pspaughtamus says:

    I took a vacation to England this past spring, and the day before I left my friend and I explored a bit of London. That evening, I sneezed, and my snot was BLACK. I’m scared to think what the pollution in Shanghai would do to anyone.

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