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Residents of Baoding, China live under a toxic shroud
But the country's most polluted city is leading a renewable energy drive
In Baoding, China, the country’s most polluted city, the smog is thick enough to see. It can burn your eyes and it can leave an acrid taste in your mouth.
This is the reality of daily life under the cloak of a toxic shroud.
It’s the air Zhao Shuang and his family breathe in every day. He grew up in Baoding, and remembers a childhood of sunny skies.
Today, that is a rarity. His young son is a year old and has seen far more gray skies than blue.
“When the pollution gets really serious, we can’t even see the buildings next to us,” said Zhao, from inside the small apartment he shares with his son, wife, and mother.
On Monday, the air quality reading (AQI) at one of the city’s own monitoring stations stood at nearly 1,000, the worst in the country, according to China’s own Ministry of Environmental Protection. According to United Nations guidelines, a reading of more than 100 is unhealthy for at-risk groups.
On the day Zhao spoke to CNN, the air quality wasn’t that bad – just four times higher than the United Nations’ guidelines. But in a place like Baoding, that counts as a good day.