It is difficult to give a general pollution level for Asia, as air pollution varies considerably from place to place. It depends on many factors, such as the proximity of pollution sources, weather conditions and traffic levels. Some parts of Asia have very high levels of air pollution, particularly in the major cities of China, while other areas have relatively little pollution. If you are travelling in Asia by foot, bicycle or motorbike and are sensitive to air pollution, it is advisable to check air pollution levels before you go. You should also take precautions to protect your health by wearing a pollution mask and avoiding sport, cycling and outdoor activities during peak pollution periods when the concentration of pollutants and nano particles is highest. What mask to buy to travel in Asia?
Where to find out data about pollution levels in Asia?
There are many apps that track air quality city by city in real time all around the world. Load one onto your smartphone before you leave. Make sure you get the right size anti-pollution mask for your face, so that you are well equipped with European standard filters. There are many fake products without filtration standards at very low prices in Asia.
China’s major metropolises are among the most polluted, as are Delhi, Mumbai and Manila. A study conducted by Berkeley Earth, an American NGO specialising in the analysis of climatic phenomena, indicates that breathing for a day in Beijing on a pollution peak day (which is very frequent) is equivalent to smoking 40 cigarettes! Another crazy figure is that air pollution also kills 4000 people a day. The analysis of their readings in 1500 places during 4 months, shows that 92% of the population breathed unhealthy air during the study period and that 38% of the Chinese breathe polluted air permanently. A real public health problem worse than Covid!
Environmental associations even speak of “airpocalysis” when these phenomena last several days and exceed by 40 times the rate of fine particles present in the air per 24 hours accepted by the WHO.
What pollution mask to buy to get best protection ?
Wearing a so-called “paper” surgical mask is not enough to protect against pollution because they have no filtration standards. They are only good to protect against diseases transmitted by sprays in public places, especially in places where there are a lot of people, such as public transport, shopping centres and markets, that’s enough!
It is recommended to wear a pollution mask to protect your health. In case of a pollution peak, it is better to keep it on your face all day long. Masks with FFP2 or KN95 filters are considered to be the most effective for protection against airborne particles, dust, viruses and other respiratory infections.
Avoid masks with plastic valves as they do not protect against viruses as the exhaled air is not filtered.
Frogmask, the best value for money on the market
The Frogmask anti-pollution masks, made in France, and equipped with FFP2 filters are perfectly adapted to protect against viruses as well as fine particles. They are easy to fit behind the neck, ultra-light for sustained use and have two nosepieces to limit the formation of mist on the glasses. This is because the warm air exhaled through the mouth does not rise up the nose to create condensation on the glasses. Available in one model but in 5 colours and 3 sizes, they allow a perfect seal around your face whatever your morphology so that a maximum of inspired air passes through the filter and not by the sides. A FFP2 filter allows to filter a minimum of 94% of particles down to 0.4µm.
They have been designed for cycling and motorcycling because cyclists and motorcyclists have been used to wearing masks since before Covid. Wearing a quality protective mask such as the Frogmask is not an unnecessary accessory in the middle of traffic where pollutants are most concentrated. Like the use of a helmet, a protective mask for bicycles or motorbikes is an indispensable accessory. Opinions are unanimous on this pollution filtering product!
The price of a mask is 38 euros. This is very well placed on the market with a one year warranty, quick delivery (3 to 5 days according your geography), and a filter included. The life of a FFP2 filter is 2 to 3 weeks depending on the level of pollution.
How do I know when to change the filter? As soon as it is dirty, don’t wait until it’s black as coal! Filters are sold separately for 28 euros per set of 10.