Are you looking for a city without the smog that Beijing is famous for? China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection has announced that 5 of China’s top 10 cities with clean air are in Guangdong province. Countrywide, the top 10 Chinese cities with the best air quality are Haikou, Huizhou, Xiamen, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Zhongshan, Zhouzhan, Jiangmen, Lishui and Lhasa. All 5 cities from Guangdong are located in the province’s Pearl River Delta region.

Ever heard of Shenzhen? If you’re not Chinese or a sinophile, probably not. These are just 2 of the new megacities in Guangdong province, on China’s southern coast next to Hong Kong. Shenzhen, now with a population of 12 million people, didn’t even exist until 1980 when Chinese leader, Deng Xiaoping, started urbanizing China and turning China into the economic powerhouse that it is today. Two of the cool things about living in Shenzhen is that it is such a young city; and amazingly, it also has some of China’s cleanest air.

According to the report released by the environment ministry, 50% of the top 10 cities with the cleanest air in China are from Guangdong province. In addition, an average of 94.9% days had good air quality. Also, the level of PM 2.5 – dangerous tiny pollutants -were below the countries’ limit. PM2.5 (particles less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter) can penetrate deeply into the lung, irritate and corrode the alveolar wall, and consequently impair lung function.

Often in China you’ll see people wearing masks when the pollution seems especially bad. There are many types of masks to choose from but make sure that your’s is certified to filter out pm2.5 particles and that it fits your face well. Some of the most popular masks are made by 3M. For more info, see this article on  by the Wall Street Journal.