The view from the Four Seasons bar in Guangzhou of the Canton Tower. If you look closely through the smog, it's there... (photo: Amy Huva, 2013)
I’m visiting China for the first time this week, as a friend recently moved to Guangzhou, the third largest city in China, which is about two hours north of Hong Kong.
I wasn’t sure what to expect beyond a huge metropolis that probably had motorbikes and people everywhere, similar to my other experiences travelling through South East Asia. I knew it would probably be pretty polluted, and that living in Vancouver for two years has probably set my standards pretty high in terms of feeling the right to demand a clean environment to live in.
But the scale of the pollution has really shocked me.
A few days ago, the air quality index was reading 163, which falls into ‘moderately polluted’ and it’s recommended that you don't exercise outdoors. This level of ‘moderately polluted’ meant I could no longer see the skyscrapers in the New Town centre from the apartment we are staying in, however people I asked about the pollution dismissed it saying ‘oh it’s not as bad as Beijing!’