Pollution drives Expats out of China’s cities
Air pollution is a huge problem in Chinese cities but Beijing is by far one of the worst affected. Pollution in the city has gotten so bad that expats are being forced to pack their bags and find a healthier place to live.
Around 200,000 expats live in Beijing and the pollution that often covers the city in smog so thick that it blots out the sun has caused many of them to question their lives in the city. According to the US Embassy in the city it has classified air quality as ‘very unhealthy’ and ‘hazardous’. The Embassy monitors the fine particulates in Beijing’s air and publishes its finding hourly. There is even a dedicated twitter feed for concerned Beijing residents: @BeijingAir.
The problem has gotten so bad that areas that were once inhabited by foreign workers are now vacant. Businesses are beginning to suffer as their foreign clients and customers leave. So far there are no statistics to show how many foreign residents are leaving Beijing. Families in particular are opting to leave as the pollution causes health issues to children.
“The terrible air makes patients very anxious – particularly foreigners with children,” says Richard Saint Cyr, a family doctor working at the Beijing United Family Hospital.
One corporate head-hunter said that the pollution was having a definite impact, with many high-paying posts vacant. He says requests for job postings in Shanghai and Beijing have dropped, and most candidates ask about the pollution situation before considering a job in the Chinese capital. Those that do take a job are also demanding hazard pay, highlighting just how dangerous the environment in China’s cities has become.
Air pollution is the main concern but the nation’s major cities are also beginning to suffer from water pollution as well. Only last month as ten thousand dead pigs were found floating in the Huangpu River in Shanghai. Other animals have also been suffering with many waterways now classed as toxic.