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Is it too polluted to walk around Beijing?

December 29, 2014

With lots of negative media surrounding the state of Beijing’s air quality, some people have been questioning whether or not it’s safe enough to walk around the city (or other parts of China, for that matter).

2 Answers


Depending on the day, Beijing’s weather can either be very pleasant, or nearly unbearable. The safest bet is to carefully select which days you spend outside. The days following heavy rainfall tend to be very sunny and nice, while days with a lot of smog tend to be days when I stay inside. If you aren’t fully acclimated to the pollution, don’t spend too much time outside or make sure to buy a good face mask!


China does receive a lot of negative attention about the air quality in many areas but the government is actively working on policies regarding air and water pollution. In the past few years arguably, the air quality has improved, though it is still not ideal.

There are many reliable websites that monitor the air quality in China run by independent organizations. Air Quality Index China is a useful website for specifics regarding your location’s air quality and is easy to navigate. (

I would always just use your best judgment when deciding to go out. If the smog or haze is very thick and you can’t see very far in front of you, I would either not go outside or use a face mask. However, these days aren’t very frequent;  in my experience it is safe to walk around and go about your daily business. Hope this helps!