Matt HealeyTuesday,22 January 2013

The Snap

The environment is a real concern. Global warming is real and is caused by human activity. I know that this is a controversial statement to people who do not believe in science and cling to beliefs such as the world was created in 6 days 5000 years ago, or that when a woman is legitimately raped she can not conceive a child. Regardless, the U.S. has made considerable strides in addressing these concerns through the creation of government watchdogs. China needs to learn this and enact similar rules — fast.

The Download

The air quality in China, specifically Beijing, is atrocious. I have visited Beijing 7 times in the last few years and there are days that you can not see the sun. There have been situations where flights were delayed because the pilots could not see the end of the runway through the smog. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a safe air quality index is 25 micrograms of pollution. Higher than that is a problem. The air quality in Beijing was over 700 last week. According to a friend who lives there it hit 993. She was pleased when it dropped to only 250 – 10x what the WHO thinks is a safe level.

This level of growth without any environmental regulation, the type of conditions that were advocated by some in the most recent election, is killing the citizens of Beijing. It is making the city unliveable. I realize that the Chinese government tends to act very aggressively to stifle any opposition to government plans for growth, but if they do not start to think about the damage that this is doing to the environment that their citizens live in, the opposition will continue to grow. Already there have been instances where the residents of a city were able to stop the development of a chemical plant due to environmental concerns. If China wants to continue to grow and become the economic power it wants to be, then the country will need citizens that are not dying from pollution.

Hat Tips:

CNN, Image Credit: Flickr

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