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Saturday, August 18

I won't be attending the Olympics in Beijing

a cold front blew through here last night and oh my god, I can breathe again. ahhh
...which reminds me of what it must be like to live in the pollution capital of the world- China.


Last year at this time, my doctor was telling me about his recent vacation to China. He reported that he and his companion could barely breathe, let alone actually see anything in the cities due to the thick air pollution. He was completely disgusted with China's disregard for the environment and he is one of those people who really doesn't complain much about such things being that he lives and jogs daily in Manhattan where it can be pretty hard to breathe in the summer. On a boat cruise around Hong Kong, he said that he couldn't see the skyline at all. They merely took a boat ride in what appeared to be a cloud. Beijing was also a disaster he said. Being an American with money, he was able to spend time in the more expensive and air conditioned places until it was time to leave.

Billydoom's sister has been living in Shanghai for the past few years. Shanghai boasts being a fabulous international city but it is also polluted to the point where it's unbearable in the summertime for those unaccustomed to breathing air that you can see and eat. Her husband comes back to the states in the summer just so he can stay alive. The Chinese citizens don't have the luxury of heat in winter or air conditioning in the summer. It's not like manufacturing plants provide heat and a/c to the workers or they have such luxuries at home either.

The clothes you buy from China are made under extreme conditions by people who wear gloves and coats all day while they sew your garments in winter and sweat all over the garments in the summer and god knows what sort of particulates they cough on said garments.

Why anyone thought Beijing would be a good place for the summer Olympics next year, beats me. Anyone who's been there will tell you that just standing there fills your lungs with un-coughable phlegm. How athletes will compete makes you wonder. Canadian athletes have been practicing there in order to do I don't know what for their lung capacity recently and breathing has become an Olympian effort.

The new "middle class" is in love with big cars in China. Forget mini cars. They are buying big cars faster than the government can build roads for them. China worries about providing gas for these cars and in Beijing if most people were to drive cars, the city would turn into a parking lot. As I mentioned above, the city is already a pollution nightmare.

There are three million cars in Beijing now and a thousand more are being registered every day. The government of Beijing in preparation for next year's the 2008 summer Olympics has banned one million cars from Beijing to see if it will have any effect on the air quality. If nothing else it has eased traffic snarls. Air born particulates from other areas in China are not aware of the ban however and continue to blow in.
An air pollution expert at the World Health Organisation (WHO), however, was on Friday quoted as saying people with heart problems should think twice about visiting Beijing as they could face "serious problems" because of the pollution.

Dr. Michal Krzyzanowski said he doubted there would be much improvement in the city's air quality by Games' time and that the car control measures might not have too great an effect.

"Particles have the ability of travelling thousands of kilometres in the air," he told the BBC.

"So it's possible the beneficial effect of cutting the traffic in the city will be compensated by the transport of pollution from other parts of China."
The Chinese spokesman, who is probably used to the pollution, can kind of-sort of see the implications of Beijing's lack of air quality but gives sort of Bush Administration type assurances to the world. So much for that.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Greenland to see the melting glaciers up close and has declared that China and the US must be a part of the world's goal to reduce pollutants since the US and China are the largest emitters of CO2 (the greenhouse gasses that cause global warming). I would agree with that, but she fails to understand just how freaking greedy are the governments of these 2 nations and how freaking oblivious are those who insist on driving huge cars and flying on their vacations. I'm quite surprised that no one has figured out how to make gobs of money by going green.

UPDATE
Arctic Sea Ice Shrinks to Record Low

And I do hope that the people who got rich polluting the air don't come crying to me when their waterfront homes become submerged.

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