“Crazy Bad” Pollution in Beijing.

“What is this white girl doing? Is she crazy? Look at her running in the middle of the day. Crazy white people.” Is what all the little Chinese man were thinking, when I was passing them by.
Wait, should I call this running, I was more like dying, barely making 15 minutes on a straight pavement. I was red, sweating and maxing out my heartbeat to full capacity. Music blasting for support I was not giving up!
— Como’n Aga, you can do this, just make it back to the apartment, breath in breath out. You ran the NYC triathlon, what’s up? Run LOLA run. — Self-encouraging thoughts as I try to run at least 20 minutes. 
I made it, hurray. Next day? I couldn’t breath. — Oh, man, this is what I get from all the recent partying.—  Morning thoughts that come to mind. BUT WAIT.
Guess what? Those little Chinese man were right thinking that I was crazy. I was insanely crazy to think that I will get in shape by jogging outside in Beijing. I am lucky not to get lung cancer from that one time. Ok,  I am exaggerating here but let me shoot some things that I found shortly after falling short of breath.
Let’s get serious.
What is air pollution? (don’t worry this is not a science class) just read on. It’s that stuff that makes your eyes itch, causes shortness of breath and reduces visibility. One type of air pollution is the release of particles into the air from burning fuel for energy, diesel smoke is a good example. Another type of pollution is the release of noxious gases, such as sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and chemical vapors. These can take part in further chemical reactions once they are in the atmosphere, forming smog and acid rain. 2 Lets add dust to this as well, good example of that would be a construction site. These are all factors that contribute to “pollution” and are harmful to all living things including the trees in Beijing.
Do you know that Beijing constantly rotates trees, as the air is so polluted that even the trees don’t life through their natural cycle. Back home we need a saw to bring them down. Unbelievable.
How bad can the pollution be in Beijing? Read what Evan Osnos wrote in The New Yorker: “After four years in Beijing, I’ve learned how to gauge the pollution before I open the curtains; by dawn on the smoggiest days, the lungs ache. The city government does not dwell on the details; its daily air-quality measurement does not even tally the tiniest particles of pollution, which are the most damaging to the respiratory system. Last year, the U.S. Embassy installed an air monitor on the roof of one of its buildings, and every hour it posts the results to a Twitter feed, with a score ranging from 1, which is the cleanest air, to 500, the dirtiest. American cities consider anything above 100 to be unhealthy. The rare times in which an American city has scored above 300 have been in the midst of forest fires. In these cases, the government puts out public-health notices warning that the air is “hazardous” and that “everyone should avoid all physical activity outdoors.” As I type this in Beijing, the Embassy’s air monitor says that today’s score is 500. [Source: Evan Osnos, The New Yorker, December 21, 2009]
Check this. The pollution in Beijing is so bad that even the US embassy in Beijing slipped out and accidently tweeted that one day the air pollution was “crazy bad”. Hilarious! Or sad? That’s something I would say — CRAZZY. But lets be serious it is CRAZY BAD! They had a damn good reason to write it this way. There is no other way to tweet it, all other ways were already expressed; unhealthy, hazardous, dangerous, why not “crazy bad”. Gangster!
Beijing’s air pollution varies from day to day. The fact that it seems worse is probably due to the weather conditions high temperature, humidity, and low winds that would otherwise clear out the smog. It’s like living in a cloud, just not the fluffy one.
Getting ready for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing the government tried to make the air cleaner as it raised major concern to for the athletes. They reduced traffic, cut down on tourist visa’s and such. However the pollution levels didn’t drop much, apparently they remained the same. Some people are convinced that it’s the increase of automotive ruling the streets of big cities. But lets be real, most of these new cars are made with some sort of exhaust regulation. If you told me this while I was in Taxco, Mexico where old Beetle cars zoomed through the alleys releasing seriously dangerous particles into the air I would second that, but people in Beijing are driving, Mercedes, BMW and all cool new looking cars.
Who is to blame for this polluted air in Beijing? Factories! The small illegal factories in the neighboring Hebei province, mainly operating at night neglecting the regulation, making the air very polluted. Big trucks are also major problem that are forbidden to drive during the day and cruise at night, releasing more shit into the air. The igniter of all bombs is the coalmines and factories that supply most of Chinas power. Construction sites are big dust-chemical producers, they pay off the government for permits and do as they please, making it a dust storm and breathing hell. I kid you not, walking down any street in Beijing, there isn’t a bloc that is not in full construction mode. These people are growing rapidly, and at the same time dying endlessly.
Who’s dying?
“China has the world highest number of deaths attributed to air pollution. According to Chinese government statistics 300,000 die each year from ambient air pollution, mostly from heart disease and lung cancer. An additional 110,000 die from illnesses related to indoor pollution from poorly ventilated wood and coal stoves and toxic fumes from shoddy construction material. The air pollution death figure is expect to rise to 380,000 in 2010 and 550,000 in 2020. The Chinese government has calculated that if the air quality in 210 medium and large cities were to be improved from “polluted” to “good” levels 178,000 lives could be saved.” 1
Lets save these 178,000 people!
Now we are talking nation wide.
Space shuttle astronaut Jay Apt wrote in National Geographic, “many of the great coastal cites of China hide from our cameras under a…blanket of smoke from soft-coal fires.” The northeast industrial town of Benxi is so polluted that it once disappeared from satellite photos. Its residents have the highest rate of lung disease in China. 1
I am glad that at least they can still see the Great Wall from space!
The World Bank has reported that 16 of the 20 most polluted cities in the world are Chinese. Lifen is one the most polluted city in the world due to coal related pollutants.
What can we do? Ohh.. that’s a whole other topic, measures are being done to reduce it of course. But I don’t think I will live to see the purest world wide air, humans are to money hungry.
Please, let me slip one more thing, so, “Made in China” right? Most electronics are made in China. Nobody can beat the Chinese prices. However most electronics that are made in China end up back in China.
Huh? Still on pollution, yes this is still pollution topic.
“Electronic waste is being deported to China and is causing war, water and land based pollution. China is believed to be the dominant recipient of the world’s electronic waste, with a roughly estimated one billion tons of electronic waste being shipped there per year, mostly from the United States, Canada and Japan. 90% of US e-waste is exported to China and Nigeria.”— I forgot who wrote this, but I picked it up somewhere on Google and I thought it was just SO IRONIC.
So what now?
Now the government is pushing the people in China to be more civilized. Have manners and all sorts of things that they say Chinese people do and don’t do. — Stop hocking everything up and spitting everywhere. — Intentions, but how can you blame them, with all the particles in their lungs, I would be spitting too. It’s good enough that now I am sitting here sniffing, sick as s@*t, barely breathing. With pain in my lungs and my ear almost exploding, I am ready for some pure air loving, oxygen I want you! Fill me up with your pureness and lets breath deep. 

Yes! Today I see the blue sky. Miracle   

1. http://factsanddetails.com/china.php?itemid=392&catid=10&subcatid=66
2. http://www.lbl.gov/Education/ELSI/Frames/pollution-defined-f.html

1 thought on ““Crazy Bad” Pollution in Beijing.

  1. Yes, Beijing is one of the most polluted cities in the world, i work there for several months last year and you got to wear mask whenever you walk on the street:)


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