It Just Doesn’t Smell Right

earth

Today, I had lunch with a friend of mine who recently returned from a trip to China. Since I love to travel and have never been to China, I was excited about hearing every detail of her adventure. However, she made short shrift of the conversation. As disappointed as I was, she made sense when she suggested I stay away. Why?

Air pollution is so serious in China that flights in and out of Beijing airport are routinely grounded because pilots cannot see through the smog. While she was visiting, a factory caught fire, but went unnoticed by anyone for several hours. It seems the blaze could not be seen through the sooty air the Chinese people are accustomed to breathing.

Chinese coal combustion, industrial plants, and automobile emissions are now regularly triggering respiratory diseases, tumors, and lung cancer among the populace. In fact,  China consumes nearly as much coal as all the other countries of the world combined (approximately 48%).

The following are some World Health Organization statistics on Chinese air quality:

1. Breathing the air in Beijing over a 24-hour period is the rough equivalent of smoking three packs of cigarettes.

2. In 2010, 1.2 million people in China died prematurely from air pollution.

3. Last year, a celebrity millionaire began selling fresh air in soda cans at the rate of 10 million cans per day in the first month.

It struck me that in our country, where we suffer economically while politicians block oil pipelines and pass thousands of ineffective regulations to further political agendas and placate environmental groups, the media tends to demonize us as destroyers of the planet. My research of the facts reveals the opposite. The air quality in New York and LA might not be ideal, but according to the scientific community not affiliated with mega-wealthy politicos like Al Gore, the harm to the Earth caused by Americans is a mere drop in the proverbial bucket.

I love rivers and spotted owls as much as the next guy, but I think it is time for the USA to wake up, become energy independent, and regain our one-time greatness in order to save the planet we share with the real polluters.

Comments

  1. While we are at it, maybe we can sell our cleaner coal burning technologies to China.

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    1. joeh: Why sell? Let's just give it to them

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  2. China is not a country I would like to visit.
    Yes, I was aware of their air quality. It doesn't surprise me. It is a result of their massive production and their lack of concern for the environment.

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    1. Julia: Ancient China was quite different. Nature meant everything. 'Tis a pity.

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  3. Over a million people died last year because of air pollution? That is a staggering number. That's a third of the population of Atlanta.
    We aren't as terrible here as we think.

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    1. Alex: I agree. Politicians would love us to believe we are destroying the planet, but it really is not the USA.

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  4. I didn't realize that the air pollution in China was so extreme. I had heard about the "fresh air in the can," but can't believe how many sold in the first month. I agree that the U.S. should become energy independent which would greatly reduce so many of our problems.

    Julie

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    1. Julie: You are too reasonable. Can you be cloned?

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  5. Good morning, JJ... I share the same thoughts. China and other countries pollute the Hell out of this planet and our politicians wants US to fix it!

    We will never be able to correct the damage being done to the planet as long as countries like China and India continue to pollute at their current rate.

    How are things in your world today??

    ~shoes~

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    1. Shoes: I agree. As for my world, I am happy to say it is wonderful.

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  6. Something we should be thankful for not being as terrible an issue here, and seriously work at striving to keep us from such a horrible quality of life. I friend of mine from Singapore, has been posting photos of the high pollution on Facebook, where at first the photos appear like a stunning vision of the purest form of fog, until you read her comments! Yikes. Not going there anytime soon.

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    1. Karen: I agree. I know we can do it.

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  7. No surprises here. Just more annoyed that more people don't acknowledge that we are not the big bad USA that our own government portrays us as. It's that same old attitude of 'Don't you dare say a word about my fabulous gas guzzling specialty vehicle. Just shut up and ride that bike I told you would make you so righteous'... and you know how tired I am of that crap. I have a note that I keep inside my car that reads: If you can convince people that their behavior is responsible for bad things, you can get them to do ANYTHING to assuage the guilt. Then you will own them.
    I never want to forget what's really going on around me. And no, I have no interest in visiting China. I am a mild asthmatic and it would probably kill me.

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    1. Jasmine: What more can I say? I agree.

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  8. Well shut mah moouth. I didn't know this about China. There are so many "good" things that I admire about the Chinese culture, though. Their health care comes first in my idea of perfect health care. A hospital is divided between the traditional Chinese medicine and the allopathic medicine for the acute. I've also heard that China does not allow the planes to spray and leave chemtrails like we daily get in the US. I could be wrong on a lot of my information.

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    1. Manzie: I love Ancient Chinese culture, and I still study it often. Too bad the modern Chinese Communists don't care about their own great history.

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  9. I just read Jasmine's comment and I loved this: "If you can convince people that their behavior is responsible for bad things, you can get them to do ANYTHING to assuage the guilt. Then you will own them."

    How often do politicians and the media use guilt-laced messages to constantly stream the message that the USA is responsible for all of the bad stuff that is going on in the world? All of the time. They have even rewritten the textbooks that our kids are reading so that history says that it is so. The USA is the new scapegoat for everything that is wrong with the world and our kids are being brainwashed into believing it. They are assuming the guilt for all of the generations preceding them... guilt that was never theirs, but that is beside the point. All the while, countries like China are being heralded as innovative and our political leaders have even said things like "The U.S. should be more like China."

    Gotta go. I hear crickets chirping.

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    1. Robin: Uninformed, brainwashed American citizens are like horses. Stick a cattle prod . . . Oh, never mind.

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    2. I heard that saying on a talk radio show and I immediately copied it down and keep it in my console. It just spoke so loudly to me.

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  10. I'd love to go to China too. And I can well imagine that they might have some serious problems with pollution, all kinds of pollution.

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    1. Angelika: Yes, the pollution comes from many sources.

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  11. Hi JJ .. it was highlighted at the Beijing Olympics ... life is not easy all round, nor easy to comprehend ...

    I'd love to visit the hinterland - but I'm not the world's greatest traveller .. I prefer to go in comfort. Still a quick visit would be fascinating ... maybe in via Hong Kong and into the south ..

    Equally I'd love to visit innumerable other places too ...

    Cheers Hilary

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    1. Hilary: Hong Kong should be terrific. Beijing? I would not.

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  12. Always enjoy your writing, JJ. There's a lot to mull over in this little essay. But I'm consumed with the concept of selling cans of air. I've got to look into this. I predicted bottled air when bottled water first came out. Crazy.

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    1. #167 Dad: It was the first I heard of it as well. I might try to sell it here. Some people will buy anything.

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  13. Here! Here! My dear. And here I was thinking of taking the China trip I cancelled a couple of years ago when my new knee heeled. Though everybody goes to Beijing to see this and that, all I ever wanted to do there since the sixth grade history segment on China was to walk on the Great Wall located 75miles across the city. With what you've reported here, I think I'll give that another think. My sinuses are bad enough in Michigan where the air and visibility is crystal. Thanks JJ for the heads up.

    Another thing about China, I heard from a friend who wasn't at all talkative when he returned from his trip was how horrible the food was. Yes, it's strange to the fare we're used to, but in China, you would eat Chinese as part of the adventure. However, while most of us gain five pounds on trips, he came home ten pounds lighter. I guess one has to have the guts to leave the tour and go to the nearest Ritz Carlton (on Industrial Street) and order a steak. The service people there always say, "It will be my pleasure." Or
    这将是我的荣幸

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  14. The Environmentalists, for too long, have had a stranglehold on too many policies in our government. I'm all for clean air and water, but I also think we should tap some of our own resources and stop being dependent on foreign powers for our energy.

    I never knew China's air was so bad, though.

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