I am originally from the U.S, specifically I am from Seattle, WA. It is a beautiful city that is lush and green for most of the year. The annual precipitation averages 39.6 inches per year. This is relevant because the rain helps clean the air.
Clean. Air. That is one thing that I took for granted growing up.
Different parts of the world have varying degrees of air pollution. Look up any cities air pollution here . There are many factors that contribute to air quality such as climate, geography, population density, local utilities, manufacturing and industry.
The United States air quality is regulated by a federal entity called the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). The EPA’s mission is to protect human health and the environment. The EPA was created on December 2, 1970.
Since the EPA was created they have enacted legislation and regulation to curb dangerous pollutants from getting into the air. As the graph below visually communicates, “aggregate pollutants” in the U.S. have fallen since the EPA was created.
The Air We Breath
South East Asia Air Quality
I have lived and traveled in different parts of South East Asia (SEA) for 2 years and have experienced my fair share of air pollution. Many countries in SEA are large manufacturing hubs for many parts of the world. Their governments loosely regulate air pollutants because heavy regulation would hinder industry therefore hindering the economy.
Headlines such as the recent, “Red Alert” that was issued recently in parts of China are a clear example of the seriousness of the situation. China also issued 28 million in pollution fines last year (2015) according to this reuters article. Fortunately local governments are becoming more proactive and trying to combat the situation.
Air Pollution While Living In Thailand
In 2014 and the beginning of 2015 I was living in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It is a beautiful city in northern Thailand. The surrounding areas are mostly agricultural which is great because you can buy tasty local produce.
The downside is that local farmers burn their crops in preparation for the new growing season in March and April. This method is known as, “slash and burn.” This time period is also known as the smokey season. Depending on the weather and winds, the air in Chiang Mai can become quite intolerable.
When I was living in Chiang Mai, I remember it was so bad that afternoon recreational activities that I liked to participate in were canceled because of the air quality. These included volleyball, ultimate frisbee and swimming. Just going for a leisurely walk would result in a scratchy throat…
The air pollution negatively impacts your health and your ability to try and stay active. It encourages you to stay inside for the hopes that the air is “cleaner.” All in all, it is a sub-optimal situation.
Air Pollution Solutions?
While there are different things you can do to combat air pollution. I would suggest that the number 1 thing to do is live somewhere where air pollution is not an issue. If you are not in a position to do that, then there are a few other options available.
While living in SEA, I noticed all the locals wearing simple handmade masks. I have always scrutinized over them and wondered if they actually “do” anything. But, I would guess that they are better solutions then wearing nothing.
Other locals wear a medical mask that health professionals use to prevent the spread of disease. Those definitely do not do anything to curb air quality. But, I think for a lot of locals it is a the perception that the mask “filters air.” I think for many people, they see other people using it so, “It Must Work!” Not really.
A mask that filters air, actually needs to have a filter that collects particulates that are floating in the air. If you are wearing a mask that does not filter these particulates then you are just making a fashion statement.
So, you must ask yourself what kind of masks offer a filter and actually protect you? Respro® offers a great solution.
Respro® Air Pollution Mask Review
Fortunately, while living in Chiang Mai, during the smokey season, I had a friend that was going to buy a mask from a company based in the UK called, RESPRO®. He asked if I wanted to buy one too and I thought, “sounds like a good idea.”
You can learn more about Respro® on its, “About Us” webpage. I am happy that I decided to make the purchase as I still have the mask, almost a year later.
The company produces a variety of models. Specifically, I bought the City Mask. If you are curious which one is right for you check out their F.A.Q. page. In general, all the masks will have a filter but have a different look/color depending on what kind of style you are looking for.
It’s important to look good. Right?
The mask has been awesome! It is light, fits securely on my face and has an aluminum clip to secure the mask on my nose. There is a velcro strap that is easy to attach and take-off on my neck.
Additionally, the company sells new filters that can be replaced on your mask. Therefore, depending on the severity of local air pollution, your filter will get to the end of its effective lifespan. Once it does, you can simply replace it and continue to use your mask.
Another huge benefit is that they offer free shipping anywhere in the world. Check out this page for details on the shipping policy.
If you live in an area anywhere in the world that has undesirable air pollution then I would seriously consider buying a Respro® mask to filter unwanted pollutants. I am glad that I did!