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Air pollution in Asia Capitals, is it reaaly as bad as they say?

Air pollution in Asia Capitals, is it reaaly as bad as they say?

Sep 12th, 2001, 09:37 AM
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Air pollution in Asia Capitals, is it reaaly as bad as they say?

I would really enjoy visiting the great Cities of Asia, but am concerned about the terrible stories about the air pollution. I understand the air in the largest Cities of Thailand, Malaysia, China and Kong Kong are at life threating levels. Is this true? What is the best and worst times to visit these Cities for air pollution? Any advice or horror stories?
Sep 12th, 2001, 11:04 PM
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It's bad enough, I suppose, but I don't know what you mean by 'life-threatening' levels: these cities are home to millions upon millions of people who clearly aren't dead yet. As far as I know, the life expectancy in HK, where I live, actually exceeds the US figure (does anyone else know for sure about this?).

Anyway, here in HK the air is the cleanest in the hot, humid, unpleasant summertime, since all the rain at that time of year washes the air, and since the prevailing winds are off the south china sea. The worst air here is in the fall and winter, when the prevailing winds blow down from the interior of China, where the air in some cities is indeed *really* bad. The fall and winter otherwise are the best time to visit here.
Sep 20th, 2001, 01:28 AM
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I agree that Hong Kong wasn't bad, was there in January, it was cold and rainy, but air quality is fine. Manila on the other hand is one of the worst for air quality, when you sneeze, it comes out black. land ther and then go elsewhere in the country. Osaka also didn't seem bad but I didn't spend enough time there to really tell.
Sep 20th, 2001, 09:30 AM
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I was in Bangkok last year and honestly thought it would be much worse. A few days there certainly didn't feel health-threatening to me. I visited at the end of the rainy season (late October). I heard the river smells when it's low in the dry season. The streets were reasonably clean too.

If you've ever been to Cairo, I thought the air there was a lot more polluted than Bangkok.
Sep 23rd, 2001, 02:15 PM
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Just back from tour of China - Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing and points in-between. I was very pleasantly surprised by the air quality. We noticed few visible signs of poor air and had no respratory problems while visiting. Don't know if this would hold true to live in these cities, but visiting was wonderful. We went fully prepared to suffer and didn't. Don't be afraid to visit.
Apr 8th, 2002, 10:09 AM
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Air pollution in Bangkok, KL and Hong Kong during a recent trip was just plain terrible. I am talking about the serious eye burning type of pollution. Haze limted visability to about 1-3 miles. Flying into these cities was eye opening, a brown pall of smog up to maybe 4000 feet.
Apr 8th, 2002, 09:36 PM
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Hahaha, why you people worry air pollution too much when everyone will die anyway. I live in Manila for forty (40) years now and i'm still as healthy as i could be, having two wives and four girlfriends.

I promised to reply again to this thread when i reach 70, hahaha. Hey guys, try to be dirty sometimes. Remember 'Cleanliness is next to Godliness' thats why you clean people die young. hahaha...
Apr 9th, 2002, 06:07 AM
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it's all relative, i sduppose. i was in guangzhou on business, and it was a huge relief to get back to the clean air of hong kong. but then again, i'm writing this from beijing, and while there's some haze, i haven't been bothered by the pollution.

the pollution in some of the cities can be a problem if u have existing respiratory problems. but as a childhood asthmatic, i haven't had any problems living in and traveling around asia. i'd say, don't let this deter you from visiting. you'd miss out on some remarkable experiences.
Apr 9th, 2002, 08:27 AM
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Good question, Harry. I am interested in visiting Thailand & China; however I have asthma and likewise, concerned about levels of air pollution.
Apr 9th, 2002, 11:36 AM
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The pollution is bad because of the mentality of the people who have responded to this question. Their statements, no it was not bad (I am tough I can take it) Or I could see a building a mile awy so I guess I can take it.---- This tough guy mentality allows governments to relax air pollution standards and everyone suffers.
Apr 9th, 2002, 04:09 PM
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i disagree, badair. i don't think anyone is in denial here. but many of these countries are developing economies. and unfortunately, the perception is that there is a trade-off between improving standards of living and pollution.

no excuses here, but it wasn't so long ago (30 years) that a river caught fire in the US because it was so polluted. and many western countries are concerned about the impact of the Kyoto environmental treaty on the cost of doing business. so which would you choose if you're a government with millions of mouths to feed?

back to the thread - bottom line -- there is pollution. some people find it can cause discomfort. but unless you suffer from severe respiratory problems, i say again, i would hope it doesn't discourage you from visiting a fascinating part of the world.
Apr 9th, 2002, 08:17 PM
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I remember when the Asian cities were not polluted. I have asthma sometimes and I think that Asia should be brought to heal - developing countries or not. I cannot imagine what they would be like if they were developed. The winter time in Asia is not as bad as summer. I could not see the sky the last time I was in Bangkok and there was a pall of orange smog everywhere. Manilla is absolutely dreadful too as is most of Indonesia. HK is also bad now and for people who are not used to it your eyes will burn, your nose will suffer and if you have asthma then it IS LIFE THREATENING. None of the cities are worth suffering for and then there is the filth which surrounds you as well. Manilla has some of the world's worst slums, HK has about 5 Million too many people, as does most of the countries.
Go somewhere where at least you can breath clean air.
Oct 19th, 2006, 08:43 PM
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Was that brought to "heal" a pun, or not? It made me smile as I sit in my 33rd floor apartment gazing out at Hong Kong's grey grey pall of pollution today!
young3 is offline  
Oct 19th, 2006, 10:13 PM
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"Brought to heal (sic)" - which incidentally is what you do to a disobedient dog - conjures up wonderful images of the great age of European imperialism, doesn't it? "Carruthers, be a good chap, send a few gunboats up the river and teach these damn natives a thing or two, will you? And re-establish the opium trade while you're at it - the beggars seem to be showing altogether too much energy."

What a truly unfortunate turn of phrase that was!

A poster on this old thread thought that Hong Kong's average life expectancy was better than the USA's. He was right - HK 81.59 years, USA 77.85. Not only that, their infant mortality rate (2.95/1,000 live births vs. 6.43) is less than half America's.(Source: CIA World Fact Book.)
Neil_Oz is offline  
Oct 19th, 2006, 11:03 PM
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I wonder if the original question had more to do with recent headlines regarding the fires in Indonesia? It has certainly been worse this year than usual, but this is a seasonal thing. In a few weeks it will be gone and probably forgotten for another year. It's no reason to stop planning a trip.

Someone else mentioned burning eyes. Well, my eyes burn and itch this time of year too, but it has nothing to do with pollution, at least not the man-made kind. It's called hay fever back where I come from, and it's caused by plants which come into bloom at the end of the rainy season. So, we should kill all the plants too?
MichaelBKK is offline  
Oct 20th, 2006, 02:53 AM
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Having lived in NJ and spent a lot of time in NYC and LA I would say BK is a bit worse but Hong Kong is getting worse gast from what I have read. Some foreign nationals are requesting moves outside Asiaor back to the US. We found the problem far less in KL. If it is Bali as the last post said i can tell you it was nill in 2004 and I cannot imagine it getting out-og-hand in 3 years.I hope some of that helps.
StanKase is offline  
Oct 20th, 2006, 06:02 AM
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I,ve been to several asian cities, and yes the pollution on some days I guess was pretty bad, I have also been to Mexico City and several other Mexican Cities that had "bad air", but I have also grown up and lived in several US Cities that have bad air, DFW, NYC, PHL, BWI, LAX. In Texas during the hot summers we would the what the weatehrmen here called "the mexican plum", which was all the smoke from the fires burnning in Mexico and Central America. I was in Texas in the Summer of 98 and that was supposedly the worse year in a long time the smoke was really thick.

But I have lived my whole life in Big Cities and Air Polution and most of the time near a major Air Port since my dad was in the airline industry. I think most people that have grown up post WWII have been exposed to "dirty air", I think its just a fact of life. Maybe I'm naive, but I just don't worry about it. I get itchy watery eyes from time to time, but I really just don't what I could vere do about it, so I just live with it. I have been in both Houston and Los Angeles for long periods of time. Bangkok did'nt seem any worse than either of those cities. I guess what I am trying to say is that I would'nt plan or de-plan my vaction around the air polution. There not many places you can go now that are totally clean. I was in the Sheandoa Valley in Virgina a few years ago, and at the top of one of the peaks that had the little sightseeing turnout was a color chart that showed the level of polution in the air and where it came from. Its in the air everywhere we go.
Oct 20th, 2006, 09:42 AM
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I was in Bangkok last December, January and February (and will be going for another 3 month holiday in several weeks) and found no trouble at all with the pollution. Nor in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, etc. The worst place I ever went to for pollution was Calcutta where after a day out and about, I blew my nose a dozen times and it looked like I had been sniffing soot.
kaneda is offline  
Oct 20th, 2006, 09:57 AM
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Most of my relatives who live in Houston develop coughing or other respiratory symtoms if they stay in Hong Kong over a week, myself included. Especially over winter time.

Search for some visitors' photos of Victoria Harbour of Hong Kong. The smog is pretty bad many days a year.

Definitely much worse than Houston (at least for Downtown or the Western suburbs of Hounton.)
rkkwan is offline  
Oct 20th, 2006, 02:36 PM
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I can`t imagine that it could be worse than Athens! Now that was bad.
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