Shanghai is Still Highly Polluted

Today, the weather is the same (except colder) and the dark gray, almost yellow sky is still like several days ago. According to local newspaper, it had been the 8th continuous day of grade II (which means slightly polluted). Based on my observation, I guess today should be the 10th continuous polluted day. So called “slightly polluted” is already “very polluted” in normal people’s view, because it starts to do harm to people already.


Recently, I am feeling very tired this week. Maybe catching a little bit cold is one example, staying late at night is another. I hope I can go to bed early today – 10:30 PM? I hope so.

Wendy is back home for her sister’s wedding, and I am packing for my trip to San Jose. Driver’s License, passport, flight tickets, invitation letters… and the power converter… It requires some work, but I think I’d better go to sleep now. I went to bed too late last night (or this morning).

Ads on the Street

There are new things around me every day. Several days before, I saw the new form of advertisement at the Raffles City (at the side of the Xizang Mid. Road).

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

There is a big projector at the top of the shopping mall and project the advertisement image to the street. It also keeps moving so attracts a lot of eyeballs



I don’t want to response too much about the comment on ignorance of major events in China, or Shanghai (so change this paragraph to smaller font). I admit that recent half year, I was not able to get involved in the city as much as I did before. I don’t often watch TV (what was my last time watching TV?). I don’t often listen to radio (besides the 20 minutes on my car back to home). Sometimes my connection to the city was cut out so I don’t have too much city story to share. Meanwhile, as my rule, I intentionally limit to my first hand information. If I am interested in a piece of news, I may go there by myself, just as a reporter do, and take pictures or exprience it. Then write about it. Otherwise, I don’t feel I can add any value by just translate the news (which is already on headline of major newspaper). Point-of-view is important, but facts are meanful to share. So take it as a blog, not a newspaper, since I cannot carry my cameras and go to all the events. :-)

12 thoughts on “Shanghai is Still Highly Polluted

  1. Today you pollute the environment to death, to-morrow you have the pay the hefty price on health care, do you justify the course of doing so?

  2. Hi Wangjianshuo !

    I’ve across your beautiful blog searching about infos on buying houses in Shanghai.

    I’m glad the real estate bubble seems to be over as i’m thinking about investing there.

    The infos you provide are fresh and very informative, keep on writing !


    in case you may be interested i published some 100s of pics of my recent trips of Shanghai on in my photo site :

    (who knows maybe you enjoy seeing your city from a foreigner’s perspective :)



  3. Yes. The price goes down dramatically and recently, it seems to be going up based on some price information for some specific places. However, who can tell whether it is before another bubble or it is over. Good luck, then.

  4. Hello Wangjianshuo,

    I’ve traveled to Shanghai twice now and I love the city. I also appreciate the fact that China is again rising and frankly look forward to the cultural enrichment of the world that will take place as a result.

    I did notice the pollution you’re talking about, but I also noticed three other things (health-related) that concerned me even more:

    1. Smoking. EVERYBODY WAS SMOKING, even doctors!!!!! If any doctor in the USA smokes, he gets publicly shamed for it, and with good reason. But in Shanghai, it seemed that half the population was chain-smoking like crazy. This is not only terrible for the health of Chinese themselves– it also, frankly, drove me away at one point, because there was so much secondhand smoke that I, too, was getting poisoned. A couple other would-be foreign investors had the same sort of opinion; one of them told me that about 1/3 of Chinese smoke, and he was sick of inhaling the smoke everywhere he went, it was too dangerous for his health.

    What’s worse is that the Chinese government has not been pushing anti-smoking campaigns like what we have in the USA, because the government makes money from cigarette taxes. This is about the stupidest reasoning I’ve ever heard, since the government *loses* much more in smoking-related costs than is gained in cigarette taxes. Those costs are (a) the direct costs of smoking-related diseases (lung, bladder and pancreatic cancers, emphysema, heart disease, hypertension, strokes, many other things), (b) loss of productivity as smokers start to get health problems in their early 40’s, and (c) loss of foreign investors in China who leave (as I and others did) in part b/c of the health dangers of second-hand smoke. As for the “lost revenue” from reduced taxes– give me a break! The government can make just as much money from selling things that *help smokers quit* (like chewing gum and nicotine patches), and in any case, foreign tobacco companies are soon going to be entering China and making money of your smokers anyway.

    C’mon– you have so many millions of brilliant people in Shanghai, why can’t you all implement a decent anti-smoking campaign? (In California, we had a brilliant ad, which hinted that smokers not only get terrible lungs, but become impotent– which they indeed do in elevated numbers– and it worked magnificently, dramatically cutting the smoking rate!) I’m serious here. You’ll not only suffer massive health care costs, you’ll keep driving us foreign investors away. Get realistic about this!

    2. Everybody wanted to eat a Western-style diet, fried fast food and junk food like at McDonald’s, *in Shanghai*. Again– what are you thinking??? In this sense at least, US pop culture, movies, ads, English-language media is like a weapon against your country, because it’s getting to make you Chinese eat like us Americans– which, needless to say, is by far the worst diet in the world. We have the world’s highest rates of obesity and Type II diabetes, and this is bankrupting our health care system. Why in the world are you following our lead? Your more fish- and vegetable-dominant diet in Shanghai and China generally historically has been quite helpful for your health, but you’re messing it all up now by eating like Americans. It’s fine to learn and adopt US efficiency and business practices, but not our diet. When I was in Shanghai years ago, almost everybody was slender and fit, lean and hungry. When I went back this year, there were fat people all over the place, more than a few eating at US-style fast-food places. Again– think!!! Eat soy burgers at your McDonald’s places, and celebrate and emphasize your Chinese diet, don’t follow the USA here.

    3. People with untreated depression in Shanghai were “self-medicating”– i.e., getting drunk on alcohol– and committing suicide in alarming numbers, because *they weren’t getting proper mental health treatment*. I know there’s a stigma about mental illness in China, as there is in many other countries, but you have to get over this, because the costs are too high. We’re not perfect in the US either, but we have a strong psychiatry establishment that works hard to treat depression, anxiety, psychosis, and other mental disorders and help people be more productive. Part of this is the drugs, the serotonergic pschiatric drugs and all that– and they *do* help, though they’re not sufficient alone– but also the commitment among professional psychiatrists to provide psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and group therapy.

    Aside from this, I also noticed– as any American does– all the pirated CD’s and other products in Shanghai. You all really need to get serious about intellectual property, for your own good more than ours. You’re basically killing incentives toward innovation w/o proper patent and copyright protection. I predict that, when China introduces stronger intellectual property laws, the number of Chinese Nobel laureates will go way up.

  5. hi.i’m from malaysia.actually my friends and i are planning to go for a vacation in shanghai in mid december.but i chickened out last minute from the trip because i heard that it will be very,very cold in shanghai at this time for the year, freezing in fact!being a citizen from malaysia, and with a very low threshold for coldness(im very very scared of being in the cold!),i had to forgo going to shanghai,although i love going to shanghai very much, much more than any other cities in the world!!however,i hope that u can tell me in detailed about how is the weather really like in shanghai in december,is it really terribly cold?i jus wanna make sure that whether i decide to go to shanghai last minute, i made the right decision.thanks

  6. Timothy,

    Both tobacco and alcohol beverage are state run enterprises in China and the government receives enormously out from it, nevertheless, the health care are commercially operated and pays by user. From ecominic point of view, I cannot see any reason for the government to disgust the chain smoking and bin drinking.

  7. Timothy, you’ve made a long speech.

    I’ll try to answer the points from my view as a laowei (foreigner), living a long time here :

    1) China is rising, but not in a cultural way. Purely economic.

    China is a DEVELOPING COUNTRY. And, in fact, very poor off !

    For this reason, culture evolution is simply DEAD here.

    Every new things I’ve seen is just a copy from the West (I’m sorry to say so, chinese guys).

    2) Smoking : 94% of men are smoking- 4% of women are smoking. Guess why. (And wonder !!). You are right – the “people’s Government” profits, and the MAN rules here. That’s all.

    Funny story :

    I will pay a good friend of mine 500RMB to quit if he can keep it for 6 months, and he quit in 1 month, just to prove it to me ! And, because of that, he found a nice girl from Gansu to marry now ! This is the chinese way, money does the miracle.

    3) Eating at McDonald’s or similar junk food outlets will not in recent times affect the economy of this country, because no public health security is available. People pay for their own hospitalization. When you go to hospital, you need money, otherwise you’ll be rejected. Social security is a “province on Mars” here.

    Even if you consider to buy your own here, it’s only meant to serve you if you are dead.

    (That is likely in the traffic, because 110.000 dies in traffic accidents every year (Official counts…)).

    4) The friendly meeting in November with US, attending Mr. Bush and others, only made the piracy shops to close and withdraw their goods from nov.1 to nov 25, when he left. Anyone could see this in Shanghai…

    (We were quite nervous, if it was for final, because 6RMB DVD’s IS a bargain after all !)

    5) Timothy, come here, and you will discover a country far more capitalistic than the US ever been (at least after 1950)….

    That’s why so many companies want to make business here, do you get it ?!

    The workers do not have any union or worker’s protection.

    Most workers (with some education skills) have 1.00US$/hr in the larger cities.

    And can get exchanged in hours if they die or object to anything.

    Here, the employee is the ruler !

    But, all the people in the west love to buy things for 70% of the domestic made product’s price, and thus they help the things to go on here.

    Forget about preventing, preserving, protecting etc.

    Find another country to protect, here nobody can’t do anything.

    Nobody want’s to get a head shorter !

    Wrong place, try India, they may listen………

    An advice to all tourists is :

    Get a fully sufficient health insurance (including home transportation) when you intend to go to China for vacation, even for 1 day.

    And – you’ll have to cope with the pollution !

  8. To:

    I am a canadian born chinese and I went to NY and Shanghai.

    I saw your pictures, five words: stop saying crap about Shanghai like: stupid, dirty. Because NY is REALLY NOT better. Lol the appartement in NY are really old and ugly. And a lot of black people on the street, when you go to the metro: there rats and dirty like not possible. (China has much more people than USA) So maybe you are just jalous or you may be unhappy… You don’t have to go to China the next time if it’s for taking pictures from the train and saying bad things! Hello?! Shanghai has beautiful places too, not just a train station and an old town. So you better shup up the next time, especially comparing to NY. china may not be as develloped like the US, but USA only becomes strond from selling *** during the WWII Tsss.

  9. To Daniel:

    I am also a Canadian born Chinese and I also went to work in NY and Shanghai.

    What Mondophoto observed is right, and ffs just watch the pics he took.

    Each big city have its fair share of problems, but Shanghai do suffer a lot from pollution, which is common among China cities nowadays…

    and unfortunately what expat is correct…it is the most capitalistic country in the world (non restricted capitalism)

    Such an irony…

  10. a comment about smoking, if i may ..

    from what i hear, health authorities in this country, have washed their hands out of public health care.

    smoking generates lots of taxes. that’s one valuable income.

    there is a MORE SUBSTANTIAL effect, in the chinese experience, is that the horrible diseases inflicted by smokers on themselves, and those around them, represent an economical stimulus. patients (CUSTOMERS) in need of hospitalisation and medicines (EXPENSIVE PRODUCTS).

    that require, of course, a HUGE MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY.

    in practice, all hospitals are private entreprises.

    health authorities have washed their hands out of paying for health care. they do some good things, such as, forcing a cap on some medicines prices.

    there are calls for the government to try to better legislate against exploitation of patients’ vulnerablity. but, are they interested in prevention? are they interested in protecting people from second hand smoke, or in curbing smoking? no evidence of those things.

    yes, they’ve signed treaties with WHO for proctecting the populace from 2nd hand smoke, many years ago .. the result? the results: MORE PEOPLE SMOKING UNCONTROLLABLY!!!!!!!

    acceptance of smoking, in this land, is hardwired into the collective mind in such a way that any anti-smoking campaign is done for mere publicity. Practically, anti-smoking campaigns are a complete waste of money in this country! from what i see, i would say, 99% of no-smoking signs represent reminders for smokers to smoke.

    evolution have turned people into human chimneys (smoking machines??).

    i’ve also read that some surveys, in Shanghai, showed that those studying medinice do NOT know the extent of damage, to the body, caused by smoking.

    tabacco companies can cheerfully have a EVEN BIGGER grin hearing this 16 y.o young girl, from shanghai, exclaiming with perfect intonation: “smoking is cool!!”

    and surely, this land is SMOKERS’ PARADISE!

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