Without a doubt, Shanghai is an industrial city filled with manufacturing bases in rural, suburban, and urban districts. Although these industries lead to prosperity, they are the main sources of damage to the environment.
Out of all the worst polluted cities in the world, 16 of them are from China, including Shanghai. For one, manufacturing plants continuously burn materials and send clouds of smoke into the air to the extent where Shanghai turns into a city of smog. On December 6th, 2013, the AQI (air quality index) reached a record-high of 484. Ever since that day, the municipal government has set more laws on factories in China and there has been a significant decrease in the amount of pollution in the air. Nevertheless, it is highly recommended that you keep a face mask with you at all times.
Aside from pollution in the air, factories consequently contaminate nature. Zong Qinghou, chairman of one of China’s largest beverage producers, Wahaha Group Co., said, “Factories should not be built near farmland where agricultural farms are grown, especially factories that can pollute the water, air, and land.” Recent news reports found that the chemicals released from a lead factory located in the rural part of town lowered the intellectual ability of some children studying at a school located nearby. Reports have also found once-drinkable streams are now heavily polluted with waste residuals dumped or leaked from factories. Therefore, avoid living near areas where factories are active in order to protect your health.
To protect your health, the most important issue you must be aware of is food safety and quality. Tap water in Shanghai and in all of China is not drinkable so drink purified water only. Also, it is highly suggested that you buy organic products, for China has loose regulations for pesticide usage (Japan banned the use of 62,000 different pesticides while China only banned 677); otherwise, peel the skin off vegetables and fruits or thoroughly wash foods before consumption. When dining out, choose more established restaurants, for you are less likely to fall with a case of food poisoning than if you eat from small street-side vendors. The same applies when grocery shopping— shoot for more well-known brands when selecting your groceries as opposed to unknown local brands that could be adding who-knows-what in its products.
Lastly, if you are still feeling uncertain on maintaining food safety, follow the World Health Organization’s Five Keys to Safer Food:
1. Keep clean
2. Separate raw and cooked food
3. Cook thoroughly
4. Keep food at safe temperatures
5. Use safe water and raw materials