Smog Problems in China

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Mar 1, 2015 03:40
Today, Chai Jing made a public speech about the serious smog problem in China. The video clip was widely forwarded and commented online by millions of people. Smog has, once again, become the focus of the public attention. Madame Chai had a baby last year. When she was conceiving the baby, the fetus was diagnosed with a tumor, which might be caused by severe pollutions. After that, she paid more attention to environmental problems, resigned as a reporter from CCTV, and started her non-profit career to raise the public awareness of environmental protection.

In many big Chinese cities (especially in northern China), buildings hide in smog in most days of the year. Pedestrians mask their mouths trying to keep out the fetid vapors. Children choke in their classrooms and dare not go out to have fun in the playground. An increasing number of white-collars start to download applications on their smartphones to keep track of air quality -- quite an “airpocalypse” scene.

Among many pollutions, the atmospheric one seems to be the most perceivable -- people have to breathe every day. Ironically, this is the last one widely known because people had assumed it was simply a fog until several years ago, Mr. Gary Locke, the former US ambassador to China, insisted that the embassy report the PM2.5 index to the public .

Various kinds of pollutions have become ubiquitous in China, in the wake of the country’s rapid economic growth over the past 30 years. The government tends to gush over its economic achievements, but disregarding the ensuing monstrous pollutions that have imposed bad impacts on people’s health. The bureaucrats encourage local officials to favor output over cleaner water or purer air. They sometimes even try to cover up the facts; for example, they hadn’t intended to report on smog pollutions before it was widely known.

The vast majority of people feel pessimistic about the future of environmental protection in China. It has been reported that the life expectancy of citizens in some parts of the nation has been reduced by about 5 years due to the airborne pollutions, so a multitude of radical netizens scorned that the government was perhaps scheming to decimate the aging population whom it will probably not afford to pension in the foreseeable future.

Although I am not that cynical, I am also sort of pessimistic that, in the long run, fireflies and butterflies would only flutter in my lingering childhood memories.

Chai’s speech at:
It is like a TED speech, very wonderful. Although she speaks a little bit fast, her language is really refined.