Educating transferees regarding Beijing’s air quality issues
Some transferees relocating to Beijing may not know about the city's air quality issues.
The Chinese capital has significant air quality issues which have caused a spike in lung cancer cases in the city, Independent Online, an online South African news provider, reported. Many of the issues are caused by the numerous factories and heating plants in the desert west of the city that continually pour smoke and fumes into the air. In addition, the city has a high number of drivers, which adds to local air pollution. At times, the sky in Beijing looks extremely hazy.
"On a bad day you’re going to change your plans," Chauvon Venick, an American transferee in Beijing, told the paper. "You wake up, look outside and it's a great day, you skip whatever you're going to do and go outside to enjoy it. If it’s a really bad day, maybe we'll go and do something inside."
In 2008, many Olympic athletes complained that poor air quality hurt their performances. This summer the city's air quality has been exceptionally poor but it is not much different in the winter, the news source said. In the winter, many homes use heating systems that further emit pollution.
The United States Air Quality Index ranges from 0-500 with the figures split into six groups. Below 50 is considered to safe while figures higher than 151 are unhealthy and 301 or higher is considered a serious health risk.
The summer had an average rating of approximately 170 but during last winter the U.S. Embassy reported a one day jump to 500 – the absolute worst level achievable.
Despite this, Beijing is still one of the largest cities in the world and among the most vibrant in terms of business and culture.
Companies relocating employees to the Chinese capital should take extra measures to ensure that their transferees are aware of the local health issues and risks and have access to sufficient healthcare while overseas. Furthermore, the U.S. Embassy runs a Twitter feed reporting air quality levels multiple times per day.
Filed under: International Relocation Services