I really wanted to go running outside this morning.
I’ve got a Chinese lesson in two hours, and my brain seems to function better after a long, hard run. I’m also making progress in losing weight, down more than 15 pounds from a year ago.
But when I peeled back the curtain to check the weather, my hopes for a quick workout were dashed. After a couple of blue-sky days last week, the pollution is back. Buildings a couple of blocks away from my apartment are barely visible from my ninth-floor window. The air is a grayish white.
The latest message from the US embassy, which monitors air pollution and releases readings hourly through its Twitter feed, said the air today is hazardous. The embassy rates air quality based on the amount of PM2.5 in the air – fine particles that are 2.5 micrometers in diameter and smaller. Common sources are power plants, industries and automobiles, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
I’m used to this by now: this process of getting up, looking out the window and checking the US embassy’s Twitter feed – all so I can make an informed decision about whether I can run outside without damaging my health. Continue reading