Thursday, April 27, 2017

Recommended Air Quality App

We love to be outside and spend most of our time outside, so avoiding smog is important.
It's true. The air quality this  year the air quality in Pyeongtaek is the worst we have seen in our seven years here. However, it hasn't really been cramping our style too much because we have been testing out some handy air quality apps that help keep us headed to the best places to breath. That's right, you can use your hand phone to avoid the worst air quality. Let's talk about the myths of air quality and how understanding them can help you spend more time outside on the right days at the right times.

MYTH 1: All Korea is smoggy. No reason to go anywhere this weekend.
Korea is surrounded by ocean and covered in mountains. Heading an hour south, west or east can change everything. It's nearly impossible (but has happened) for the ENTIRE country to be smoggy all at once. Sure the air quality is terrible in Seoul or Pyeongtaek or Busan,  or other major cities. However, it doesn't mean that every inch of Korea is covered in smog. It means that cities and city adjacent areas are covered in smog. It also means it's time to consider going to the beach, mountains, or islands for some outdoor time. Check your app so see where the low smog areas are and go there on the weekends.

MYTH 2: The sky is blue today. The air must be perfect! (or vice versa)
It's also important to not that bad air quality isn't always something you can see. Sometimes a beautiful blue day can be terrible. Also, low visibility doesn't always mean bad air quality. This is ESPECIALLY true in Pyeongtaek in the spring and fall when temperatures from the ocean and the rice paddies are creating a lot of fog and mist. Just because it's white out doesn't mean it's smoggy. It just means we have cold and warm air mixing. Check your app to see what the actual levels are.

MYTH 3: I checked my app this morning. I better not go outside today. (or vice versa)
Smog is in the air and the air is moving, especially in west Pyeongtaek where winds come off the ocean. Hour to hour the winds move smog around. It might be terrible in the morning and then cleared out by lunch time. Or the other way round.  It's important to choose and app that gives you updates on big changes in air quality so you know immediately when things have gotten better or worse.

MYTH 4: If it's bad in Pyeongtaek City it must be bad in ALL of Pyeongtaek. 
Not true at all. West Pyeongtaek tends to have far better air quality than downtown. It's important to find an air quality app that has detailed information about the Pyeongtaek area so you know where the besting hiking trails or the best parks to hangout in for the day. Don't stay inside just because it's bad in your neighborhood. Check your app and head toward the best air.

What we use: Air Matters
The app that we are really loving right now for keeping informed about local air quality is Air Matters. We especially recommend using it with the Notifications turned on. As active people, we find it incredibly usefully to be immediately notified of the changes in air quality in our area. We also like the fact that this app allows us to track multiple areas in Pyeongtaek so that we are always aware of where we can go for a walk. Here are some screen shots from our favorite app so you can see how useful it is and maybe give it a try.

We track multiple neighborhoods since we are out and about all day.

Keep notifications on to always stay current.

Area map helps you quickly see which way to go.

Even though Bijeon was terrible in the morning, it was the place to be in the afternoon.

You can download the South of Seoul App from: