Originally I had no idea what I was going to write about for this week’s blog, but then I struck gold by reading a news article about Beijing’s air quality.
I assume that you are all aware of the horrendous air quality issues Beijing faces. The issue hit international news this January when the PM2.5 index went over 900. To put that into scale anything above 100 is seen as unhealthy, and Beijing usually sits around 200.
There are several factors that cause the pollution here to be so severe, the top of the list being a vast amount of poorly regulated industrial factories. There are laws in place to limit emissions, but as always, if the right person gets the right bribe then laws are disregarded. Next on the list is unclean energy; the majority of energy used here is powered by coal. Inefficient, dirty as hell, but cheap. Now these two are the biggest issues that need to be addressed, but that’s not the way things are done here.
According to most government reports the number one issue is too many cars being on the road. Today I also read an article in which a (government appointed) environmental “expert” stated that another key contributing factor in emissions was people cooking too much, and that everybody should work cooperate with the government by eating hot and cold meals on an ‘odd day on, even day off’ schedule Really? I don’t know which clown thought they could pull the wool over people’s eyes with this one, but they were really scraping the bottom of the barrel.
Are you beginning to see a trend? Driving and cooking. Both of these are things that most people do on a daily basis, will continue to do on a daily basis and are near impossible for the government to regulate. They are being scapegoated as the key causes for pollution so that instead of placing the blame where it belongs (poorly regulated laws, corruption, inefficient and dirty energy), people will feel they have only themselves to blame.
I was relieved to see that the cooking BS is going down with a healthy portion of scepticism.
Comments on the Chinese microblog website, Weibo, include:
“Cooperate with [the government] how? By somehow becoming magical beings who don’t require food to eat?”
“The main things that cause pollution are industrial emissions, energy plants, cars and coal burning. Cooking takes places inside homes for a very short space of time. Inside the home [cooking] may influence the air quality, and it surely does have an effect on PM2.5 emissions, but there is no way it’s a major factor.”
“Chinese people have been cooking food for 5000 years and there’s never been a trace of PM2.5 before. Fellow bloggers, what do you think?”
Looks like the government need to up their game if they want their lies to convince people!