Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Friday, November 11, 2016



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.

So what is Chinese government doing to address the crisis? Thankfully, Beijing officials have abandoned the 'Just Don't Breathe' campaign and are taking another approach: Blame the weather. State news agencies report about "meteorological disasters" backed up by altered satellite images showing immense fronts pushing into Northeast China. Meanwhile, the real culprits continue to pollute. Unregulated industrial factories release crap into the air while government officials take bribes and look the other way.

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!

While the Dutch inventor and the 'Smog Free China' Project do have some merit, we here at the DUNER BLOG would prefer to also attack the dirty corporations behind Beijing's dreaded Smog Season. The rest of the world needs to intervene and repeal any 'Developing Nation Exemption.' Let's start making Beijing accountable. They need to follow the same regulations as everyone else. The huge irony is that this nation calls itself a 'People's' Republic. If the people are in control, why can't they breathe?  

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