Real estate developer and attention-seeker Pan Shiyi led the media on a pollution-checking tour of Shanghai’s subway on Friday in an apparent attempt to ensure the public that the city’s public transport was pretty ok.
Pan’s day job may be Chairman of Beijing-based Soho China, the property firm he co-captains with wife, CEO and fellow media personality Zhang Xin, but courting the press seems to be his favorite pastime.
Clutching a hand-held device for measuring PM 2.5 pollution while accompanied by a flock of reporters and a video crew, Pan rode Shanghai’s subway Line 2 to the downtown Jing An Temple stop, testing the air at 14 stops along the way.
In case you’re curious how the public transport atmosphere tested out, Pan’s experiment found levels of the tiny cancer-causing PM 2.5 particles ranging from 36 to 54 micrograms per cubic meter. (The air outside in Shanghai at 2:00 pm registered PM2.5 concentrations of 53.0 micrograms and the air quality index came in at 144, a level classified as Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups.
The US EPA standard for short-term exposure to PM 2.5 is 35 micrograms per cubic meter of air and the long-term standard 15 micrograms. China has been plagued by air quality issues in recent years with many residents wearing respirator masks on the street and sales of home air purifiers reaching record levels.
In the publicity video that Pan presented on his Sina Weibo microblog, (only viewable in China and in Chinese) the real estate magnate whose fortune together with his wife has been estimated at US$3.8 billion, sounded positive about his underground adventure, stating that the results were better than expected and the trains “were much less crowded than in Beijing.