Fashion Rule: Always match your mask to your shirt. Or was it your belt to your shoes? I can't seem to remember at the moment.
ShenZhen isn't one of the worst cities in China for air pollution, but we've certainly experienced elevated pollution levels since moving here. We check this map and this site regularly for daily reports of pollution levels where we live. Red is bad, purple and brown are even worse. If you're curious at all about the situation of air pollution in China and around the world, I encourage you to check out those sites and explore to look at the parts of China that have a much bigger problem with pollution than ShenZhen.
We check pollution levels in order to determine our plans for the day. Angel avoids going out for a run when we're in the "red." As we understand it, on days when the pollution is especially bad, it's a good idea to stay indoors and not participate in outdoor aerobic activities that cause you to breathe at a higher rate.
When we have to go outside on days with comparatively high levels of pollution, we wear masks. Before we moved to China, I researched and decided that Vogmasks would be best for what we were wanting to get out of a mask, so we purchased those. We have the microfiber version, not the organic cotton version, because microfiber is best for filtering out the industrial pollutants that concern us the most.
When we first arrived in ShenZhen, the rainy season was in full swing, and pollution levels were comparatively low. Now, it no longer rains constantly, and pollution levels have been consistently high. We've been here such a short time, and have not experienced any negative health effects, but pollution of this sort means long-term exposure to citizens. I will say that living in a city of 10 million has caused me to become much more proactive about reducing my own personal contribution to consumption and waste than I ever was before.
Have you ever had to deal with elevated pollution levels? What are your strategies?