Friday, November 11, 2016
NOV 11 SMOG SEASON STARTS IN BEIJING
Here in the USA, the sights and smells of Autumn are in full swing. Tree leaves shine in red and yellow. Nights are colder and shorter. Seasonal changes are underway in Beijing too...only they are little different. In the Chinese capital, fall is called Smog Season. With temperatures dropping, this means three million coal furnaces are being lit, adding to already horribly polluted skies. Here the yellow and red of fall refer to the 'City Alert' scale for healthy air. For example, yesterday was a 'Yellow Warning' day.
While all air pollutants are unhealthy, the most dangerous ones are PM2.5 particles. This refers to their tiny size, not to their makeup. In short,they are the miniscule...but active...bits of sulfur dioxide, lead and carbon monoxide. They are small enough to slide past your windpipe and then get into your lungs and cause some nasty damage. The best way to avoid PM2.5's is to wear a face mask. That's why people in Beijing always look like a bunch of surgeons. An astounding one fifth of all face masks sold in China are sold in the capital.
Uh-oh! Is there any good news in this blog? Of course. One inventor has made a fantastic machine. It sucks in dirty air, filters out the smog particles and pumps clean air out. However, what separates the Smog-Free Tower from other air conditioners is the end result. It compresses the carbon and turns them into diamond rings! In only 30 short minutes, it can clean 30,000 cubic meters of air and produce one piece of jewelry. Not bad!