China & Air Pollution

Old Jul 16th, 2005, 10:35 PM
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China & Air Pollution

I've been hearing & reading about the terrible air pollution in places in China which makes me concerned about travelling there. I have asthma which is controlled here in the U.S. with medication, but I was wondering what the situation is really like in China. I have a trip planned for Sept. Thank you!
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Old Jul 16th, 2005, 11:48 PM
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Yes, it can get pretty bad. In the coastal region, you have emissions from various industries plus exhaust from vehicles, etc... During the winter months in poor rural areas, you have particulates from burning of coal or other fuel for warmth. And then at various times of the year, you have sand and dust blown in from the desert and deforested highlands in western and north-central China.

A lot of people wear masks when outdoors, and this has nothing to do with SARS.

It shouldn't stop you from travelling to China, but you definitely need to bring your medication.
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Old Jul 19th, 2005, 01:38 AM
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Old Jul 20th, 2005, 03:26 AM
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Hi,
I can't agree with some people ! China is really a developing country, once there was serious pollution, but already there is very great change now. Pollution is a global question, not the existence of developing country only such as China, have too in the developed country. About wearing the gauze mask, when you are engaged in a certain special job, that is essential. At a certain special moment , we will need to wear it .
I think what you understand is China in the past , but present China was changing at the speed of minute.
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Old Jul 20th, 2005, 03:39 PM
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Present China is still pretty polluted Funny thing is it's never bothered me. What does bother me is coming home to the LA smog. That makes me sick for the first couple of days, go figure!
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Old Jul 20th, 2005, 05:55 PM
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I grew up in Hong Kong, and usually visit every winter these days. There used to be plenty of very clear days in the winter, but now the smog is so bad that you can barely see The Peak on some days.

Well, while population has increased, number of vehicles haven't. In fact, ndustry has declined and many commercial vehicles now burn LPG. So, where is the smog coming from?

Well, between Hong Kong and Guangzhou, it used to be farmland 15-20 years ago. Nowadays, most of the worlds' electronics are produced there, and all the green fields have disappeared. Cars and trucks are many many times that of 15-20 years ago in those areas.

I do not object to progress, but the OP asks about air quality and asthma. I can tell him/her that most of my relatives and myself visiting Hong Kong and Southern China usually starts coughing after being there for about 2 weeks. Just too much particulates and irritants in the air.
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Old Jul 20th, 2005, 06:14 PM
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I was in Shanghai in April and the pollution was really bad.We could not see morte than about 1.5 kilomteres from the 14th floor of our hotel on the Bund .Then a breeze would come up and it would clear. Take all your precautionary medication / gear with you .
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Old Jul 20th, 2005, 07:25 PM
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Yes, there is a lot of local very serious environmental pollution in China, but there are a lot of beautiful picturesque places , for instance Yunnan ,Tibet , Xinjiang , Gui Lin ,etc..These places do not almost have industry nature that is polluted.Such a place still a lot of in fact.I want in several pictures on here take place really, that kind of beauty is unable to be stated with the language, only by being there , seeing can it realize, that is the place where make the persons' soul and body all pure .
Do not want when you touch a person , because only touch the nose and say this person's only long nose.
Consult in many ways before go out certainly, take the essential medicine, this is necessary.The people with traveling experience will all do so .
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Old Jul 27th, 2005, 08:21 PM
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NJ, If you are going to Henan province (Luoyang, Xian, Zhengzhou)in September or October you may encounter farmers burning their fields after harvest. This can create thick black smoke for days and many miles. Even without that, you may find yourself coughing up dark unpleasentness due to factories etc. Despite that, it is a great place to visit.
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Old Jul 28th, 2005, 11:42 AM
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NJCoop, I have severe chronic asthma and have been to China twice with no trouble whatsoever.
I was in Beijing,Xian,Yangtze river, Shanghai in October/November and in Hong Kong, Yunnan province, Shanxi province in March/April.
I carried along doubles of all meds (I am on 3 prevent meds) in case I lost one and a couple of bronchio-dialators. I don't think I used the bd's at all.

Is your asthma under control? If not, get your meds changed, there's alot of new stuff on the market. Wear a mask if you are in a really polluted area. I live in LA, it is really smoggy here but I'm on the right stuff.

I would never let my asthma get to the point of preventing me from going anywhere.I may not go to Beijing in the dead of winter when there is alot of coal burning, but in Sept that should not be the case.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2005, 04:38 AM
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Hi: Can only speak for April. Self gets bronchial asthma with a cold. Daughter-chronic controlled asthmatic. We gave the Western Silk Route a miss as advised by this board and by our doctor/s. The four of us got colds after four days in Beijing. Brown pollution in Beij was heavy. We only had a day tour in Xian because of pollution. Went by train and pollution (window view) all the way. We then fled to Yangshou to escape. H/ever some rain and very misty there. Got through 4 days in Shanghai-blue/grey pollution but had to visit a 'Western' hospital emergency dept. for tabs and an injection + Xray even though on bronch-dialator and preventer puffers by then. Treatment very thorough and there was an interpreter. It was very scarey all the same. I tried to bring forward return dates but planes full. We had full medical cover. Make sure you know where Western Hosp. is on the map and have the name written down in Chinese. Also have written in Chinese "I need an ambulance immediately for ... Hospital". I went by cab, 15mts max. Daughter's holiday ended earlier. She also had asthma there but the preventer kept her going but she had to visit hospital here when she returned.
Pollution in the big cities was beyond my wildest imagination-you should see some of the photos!
We gave up some of our planned itinerary (ie more polluted areas) to get to the clean air of Yangshou.
Having said all that, you would know how to monitor yourself. Getting a cold is probably on the cards as there is so much spitting and coughing in crowded markets. Also I exposed myself to some windy conditions (that I would not normally do at home with bronch.asthma) because I did not want to miss out on anything. I did have a day or two in bed but we were on the go early til late.
BUT...we were there for six weeks and had the time of our lives.

Next holiday maybe Bangkok (pollution again?). From experience of China we will not go for so long. Maybe only 10 days. In and out. Reckon the old lungs can cope with that.

Oh yes: I also self-administered anti-biotics that you can buy over the counter there but that's a bit dicey with the language barrier and I would not do that again. Just know in advance where the Western Hospitals are. My medical bill was only $100 AUD which was refunded by insurance.
By the way I am 60 and I smoke. So....
All the best and hope to hear how your trip went post Sept.

Bye - g
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Old Aug 8th, 2005, 07:43 PM
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My parents came back from Shanxi (west of Beijing in north-central China) two weeks ago, and I am now looking at their videotapes.

Lots of particulates in the air there. While the weather was fine, there was this haze/smog thing in the atmosphere at all times. You never see crisp blue skies even though there's not a single piece of cloud. My dad can actually shoot at the sun during the day, which appears as a halo behind the smog.

He also sneezed a little bit, but not too severly.
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Old Nov 8th, 2005, 04:57 PM
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Contrary to jojo's optimism, pollution in China is getting worse, not better. As petroleum prices rise, coal consumption increases more and more, because it's simply a cheaper source of energy. Hong Kong's pollution woes are all driven by a huge increase in coal burning energy systems, not only in Hong Kong but the region as a whole. If the winds are right, or there are no winds at all, Hong Kong can be surprisingly hazy. Bring your medicine, and photocopies of your prescription.
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