Shanghai Airpocalypse

It is becoming a cliché to refer to China’s ongoing battle with air pollution as an “airpocalypse“,  but I struggle with finding a more accurate term to describe the almost daily grayish-brown haze that lays upon this city. Granted, there is worse air in China: riding the “Harmony”  high-speed bullet train to Beijing this past weekend, visibility was less than 500 meters in many rural areas through which the train passes. But bad air days in Shanghai are becoming the rule, not the exception.

Change every six months!

Change every six months!

Before moving to China we did our homework and the number one thing we heard from expats was “Buy a quality air filter unit.” Most often, IQ Air and Blueair were mentioned as the go to machines to own. We purchased a Blueair 500 series unit. According to the instructions, the air filter needs to be changed every 6 months, so I bought a set (3) of replacement filters, too.

We moved into our apartment on November 01, 2013 and set up the unit in our living room. We rarely open the windows and when we have it has been for short periods of time. We have an Ayi who cleans the apartment three days a week. We don’t have a pet. We take our shoes off in the outside foyer before we enter the apartment. It would be hard to imagine a living space anywhere with less dust or dirt.

Thursday, my Mandarin tutor was asking about the Blueair unit (because one of her Australian clients is trying to buy the increasingly difficult and expensive to find in China units) and how frequently we changed filters.

10 week old air filter on left, new filter on right.

10 week old air filter on left, new filter on right.

As I explained the 6 month life of the filters, I opened the unit and found this:

I replaced the filters and ordered another set from Amazon that I’ll pick up on our trip to Boise to visit Hannah and we are looking at purchasing another unit for our bedroom.

3 thoughts on “Shanghai Airpocalypse

    • Woody, we have masks and use them occasionally; they fog up your glasses and if you take off your glasses your eyes get grit in them. Jury is still out on effectiveness of mask. Maybe we’ll petition for hazardous duty pay.

  1. This story was on CBS this morning… I didn’t know you are sending them stories.
    It really made think about your adventure… seriously.

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