Friday, December 6, 2013

Toxic Emissions

When I was little, I often wondered why my Mom would have to go to the local garage to have our car tested for environmental emissions.  Now I am living the reasons why these tests are so vital.

Over the past few days, the Shanghai Air Quality has been horrible.  I am not talking a little stench in the air, I am talking our lives are changing due to the smoot lingering around us levels of pollution.  A lack of wind and rain has me living in a climate that is 20 times more dangerous than what the World Health Organization recommends.

Like many other Chinese Elementary schools, my school has a “let’s keep the windows open and have no heat “ policy, so kiddos are exposed to the filth all day during their lessons. 

I broke down this morning and purchased a mask from a local pharmacy.  Unfortunately they were sold out of the "good masks" so I had to settle for less than super protection.

Fortunately, many teachers have closed their windows, but the air seeps through the doors.  Many of my kiddos learn the basics while wearing facemasks. 

I taught my kids about the gingerbread man today.  They had to create their own gingerbread men.    Notice the gingerbread man is sporting a mask!

This picture breaks my heart.
Many PE classes are now being held inside classrooms and students stay inside for their recess. 

My student Annie and I rock the masks.
What they don’t tell you in news articles is what it is like to live with pollution.  Imagine every time you went outside, the air smells like car exhaust and smoldering embers from a campfire.  When you walk, your throat itches, phlegm streams down the back of your throat, and tasks that were once simple like walking up a couple flights of stairs make you wonder if you are having a heart attack.  My husband Chris reports he has been having dreams where he picks up his old smoking habit.

If you look closely, you can find the sun without burning holes in your retinas.

Some idiot decided to set off fireworks on my way to work.  I felt like stopping the cab and slapping the man upside the head.

This is the view from my office during a typhoon.

This is the view from my office today.

FYI, the AQI of Chicago was 35 at this time.  LA had an AQI of 39.  We are living with 504.

If you are reading this, please do a wind/ rain dance or say a few prayers that Shanghai will get relief.  I am tired of breathing toxic air!!