What an Air Quality Index of 886 looks like

If you’ve ever wondered what an AQI of over 800 looks like, here’s a glimpse. It’s like fog, except it burns. The winter of 2013 was a really bad time for pollution in Beijing. It’s been significantly worse than any of the other years I’ve been here.

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There are days when I come back into my apartment and realize that I smell like coal and the water runs black when I rinse myself in the shower.  Bloomberg says that it’s akin to living in an airport smoking lounge.

Bloomberg: Beijing pollution January 2013

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