I wrote a long post about the air quality in Beijing a while ago and you can read it here. But suffice to say, since the index is out of 500, I never imagined it would get beyond that. Well, I have been proven wrong. Once again, Beijing / China finds a way to break free from any boundaries one thinks might exist and do its own thing.
301-500, according to the chart below is so bad that "everyone should avoid any outdoor exertion" and anybody with any sort of illness should "remain indoors." Well, guess what the index is?
As of 11am today it had gotten as high as 557!!! Which the US embassy in Beijing aptly notes is "Beyond index."
Suffice to say I am coughing, hacking, dehydrated, and feel pretty darn awful. Not only do you notice it outside, because you can't see beyond the end of your nose, but you can really feel it in your throat and lungs.
Last night in a cab home I noticed some neon signs at the top of a building no more than 200/300 metres away but they looked to be suspended in the air as you could not see the building, you could just make out the fuzzy glow of the lights. I also went to the Summer Palace and I couldn't see the other side of the lake. Again, no more than 400m away.
I especially like the embassy's tweet shown below. Until it figured out that "beyond index" was a more "proper" sounding way to put how bad it is, the embassy decided to say "Crazy bad."