There are very few days when we have truly clear skies in Shanghai. It’s one of the things I miss. And one of the causes is of course pollution which can be pretty bad, although I understand Beijing has much worse problems.
Those nice people at the American embassy in Beijing have an app which you can install on your smartphone which will tell you the current status of the air quality (updated hourly) as measured from within the embassy grounds (and from their consulates in Shanghai and Guangzhou).
The Chinese government produces its own air quality data but strangely, the measures often do not tally, and the Chinese figures are usually indicating a much better air quality measure. Because of the conflicting data the government has asked foreign embassies to stop publishing their own data.
Only the Chinese government is authorized to monitor and publish air quality information and data from other sources may not be standardized or rigorous – Wu Xiaoqing, vice environmental minister.
So who do we believe? Is the government manipulating air quality data to make everyone believe it’s not as bad as it really is? Or are the evil foreigners doing everything they can to embarrass China? All I know is some days I can barely see my had in front of my face and if that’s “good” air quality, then I’m Spiderman!
It really is a pity that so often in China, more effort goes to hiding something than to finding ways to solve the issue.