Under The Dome – The Devastating Truth About China’s Smog and What We Can Learn


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A stark video, ‘Under the Dome’ documenting China’s dangerously high levels of air pollution has spread rapidly across the Globe.

Chai Jing, a former state television presenter gives her personal account of living in a smog filled city, weaving in scientific evidence and shocking images for maximum impact. The video can be watched here, although please note that English subtitles are still in process.

Ma Jun, a well known Chinese Environmental specialist describes the documentary as “one of the most important pieces of public awareness of all time by the Chinese media.” He said, “It is powerful because it is motivated by a personal story and has got the feelings that people can relate to. It also holds to the standards of investigative journalism, it is properly vetted on the scientific and technology side, it is a powerful combination.

Jing states that she only awakened to the true horror of living with such high levels of air pollution when she learned that she was pregnant. “I didn’t wear a mask in polluted days before. After holding a new life in my hands, I started to worry about the air quality.”

Since her birth Jing has felt forced to keep her child indoors “like a prisoner” for days on end when the pollution levels are just too high.

The documentary shows a clip of Jing interviewing a 6 year old child in 2004. The child states that she has never seen stars, nor clouds, but has seen a blue sky once. The realisation that this could be the experience of her own daughter moved Jing to learn more about the smog hanging over China and spread the word about what needs to be done to improve the quality of life there.

What is Smog?

In Beijing in 2014, 46 photographers recorded images of the sky in for 40 consecutive days. The results as shown in the video are astonishing, some days buildings are barely visible through the clouds of pollution.

Still from Under the Dome
Still from Under the Dome

Despite this, smog is a largely ‘invisible enemy’, the particles of pollution are far too small to see with the human eye. Jing took a filter designed to collect these tiny ‘PM2.5’ (particulate matter) molecules with her as she went about her normal day for 24 hours. She then had the filter analysed to find out exactly what had been in the air around her.

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  1. One thing I’ve come to realize, if THEY have it in their water, we have it in ours. If they have it in their air, we have it in ours.
    The Fukishima: we have it in our water too. We are all in this together. There is no separation.

  2. We are to blame for their levels of pollution as much as they are because the companies that moved their manufacturing to China and India did so to avoid the regulations imposed on them in the US. We are so blind to think that living on a spinning planet will not bring the toxins back to us no matter how far away from us they start.

    1. Wholeheartedly agree! They are busy manufacturing to keep up with our endless demands for products. Thanks for commenting Lois.

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