Environmental Alarm Grows in Urban China

An incipient environmental awareness is increasingly emerging among the urban middle-class in China, but the almost apocalyptic scale of the pollution must be discouraging to activists, to say the least:

The statement posted online along with a photograph of central Beijing muffled in a miasma of brown haze did not mince words: “The end of the world is imminent.”

The ceaseless churning of factories and automobile engines in and around Beijing has led to this: hundreds of flights canceled since Sunday because of smog, stores sold out of face masks, and many Chinese complaining on the Internet that officials are failing to level with them about air quality or make any improvements to the environment.

Chronic pollution in Beijing, temporarily scrubbed clean for the 2008 Summer Olympics, has made people angry for a long time, but the disruptions it causes to daily life are now raising questions about the economic cost, and the government’s ability to ensure the safety of the population…

The motionless cloud of pollution that has smothered the capital and its surroundings in recent days has frayed tempers. Long stretches of highway have been shut down because of low visibility, hobbling transportation of people and goods. Workers at Capital International Airport have faced crowds of irate travelers whose flights have been grounded. From Sunday to 11 a.m. Tuesday, more than 700 outbound and inbound flights were canceled…

An announcement at the airport made no mention of pollution, attributing the cancellations and delays to “the weather condition.” That has long been the government line: the haze is fog, not fumes. But increasingly, Chinese know better.

Anger Grows Over Air Pollution in Beijing – NY Times

This entry was posted in Environmental policy, Sustainability, Risk Management, & Long-Term Security. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>