What can we help you with?

Air Pollution In China – What You Should Know - DirectAsia

Tue, 02/04/2014 - 16:56

air pollution

For those of you who have kept up with the news or who might have just returned from a holiday in China, might have realized that the air pollution over there has hit record highs in over 52 years. Mainly the North-Eastern parts of China such as cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Harbin are severely affected. It is especially worse this time of the year because of winter where the cold and lack of winds prevent the smog from being blown away. With the haze affecting us at a record high PSI reading some months ago and if you are looking for a breath of fresh air, the bigger cities in China may not be the best place to be visiting now. However, if you are planning on making a trip to those affected areas regardless, you probably should take certain precautions and know what to expect.

Setting Expectations On Your China Trip

Flight Delays/Cancellations

There have been many flight delays as well as flight cancellations due to the terrible visibility. Even pilots are required to have additional training to land in such severe conditions. Therefore, a good plan would be to purchase travel insurance to ensure you are covered as there is a high likely hood that your flight may very well be delayed or cancelled. Amidst the confusion, luggage can be delayed or lost and travel insurance will definitely come in handy here! Should your flight ever get delayed, you can claim from your insurance policy as long as it was delayed a minimum of 6 hours.

Here is a list of items that you will need should you need to make a claim.

  1. Completed Claim form
  2. Written confirmation from the airline stating period of delay, reason and amount of refund if scheduled departure is cancelled.
  3. A copy of your passport with departure and return dates/air tickets/boarding pass;
  4. A copy of your travel itinerary.


The main causes of the air pollution are due to industrial and auto emissions so if it is possible, try to avoid being outdoors for a prolonged period as best as you can. Some schools in Eastern China have had to suspend outdoor activities because the air quality is that bad. Therefore try to avoid any strenuous outdoor activity while you are there. If you know you are going to be traveling outdoors, you can invest in a simple mask which can be purchased from 7-11s while in China. If you don’t want to risk them running out of masks, you can purchase your own online. Totobobo is a local Singapore mask manufacturing company that you could look at. 3M is probably another company that a lot of people are familiar with. They do sell masks with replaceable respirators which would be more effective than disposable masks or simple cloth masks. That being said, if you already suffer from respiratory problems, you should consult your doctor first before making the trip there. Make a list ensuring you have all your necessary medications with you. Purchasing travel insurance will also ensure that you are covered should you fall ill during your travels.

Should you fall ill while abroad in China, just know that they do not have polyclinics like we do in Singapore. Instead, you can either visit a pharmacy or visit a hospital. Bear in mind the language barrier so it might be useful to have your family doctor write in Mandarin describing your existing respiratory medical problem. There are foreigner/VIP clinics that offer English speaking staff but you pay more for such services. Wait times in the hospitals can be very long as well so take that into consideration. Your best bet would be to leave Singapore ensuring you have all your necessary medications with you for the duration of your stay, pack any vitamins to keep your immunity up, drink sufficient water and get enough rest before and during your trip!

At DirectAsia.com, we offer a comprehensive travel plan that will cover you for flight delays/cancellations as well as medical cover which includes coverage of medical expenses should you fall ill while you are traveling. This also includes emergency medical evacuation should you require urgent medical attention. Taking up insurance is after all a safety measure and peace of mind is something we all would want while on holiday especially when visiting places of ‘higher risks’. Look no further and visit DirectAsia.com to find out more today!