Monday, August 18, 2008

Pollution in China

A lot has been said about the state of the air quality in Beijing over the last few weeks with the Olympics now ongoing there. I'm not exactly going to jump into that debate. It is what it is, we can all make our own opinions, but a lot has also been said about the efforts that the Chinese government has made to clean up the place. This article I read today from a newspaper in Tanzania is one of them. I do think it is great that China has added all this green space to the city, and I was even commenting about it while I was watching the marathon the other day. I really have never seen a city with so much greenery. Still, a lot of the things they have done are hardly permanent, such as shutting down industry while the games are going on and banning half the cities cars from the roads are just not realistic to continue. I imagine the factories are firing back up and the gridlock will continue as soon as the flame is extinguished.

On top of that I just feel like the whole thing is just one big illusion. Great, they have spent tons of money to "clean" Beijing, but what about all the other cities where all the other 1 Billion plus Chinese live. What of all the other parts of the country that they are banning reporters from seeing. I really do feel like they are trying, but I have an extremely hard time praising a government for anything when they are detaining people without cause, deporting anyone who shows signs of protest to their government, flat out barring the media from reporting certain details, news reports about their president of the Olympic organization committee having been convicted of torture in the past and just their complete and total refusal to address the human rights issues that they promised they would adjust when they were awarded the games eight years ago.

I love that the environment is making headlines. Very few things make me as happy actually, but the problems they have in China just are not going to be solved by transplanting a few trees and rolling out a few fuel cell buses.


A*Sue of Green Grounded said...

The Beijing Olympics have certainly created a balancing act for me as well. Between seeing how beautiful the city is and the natural beauty of the community, yet seeing that they are making strides, yet then again how much is permanent, as you mentioned... It's all so complex, and truly a bit superficial eco-change. And I wanted to boycott the Olympics for a stance, but then to watch pieces and see the innocence of their people, how heartbroken they are to see how angry the world is at them, how much they want to be looked at with respect and be embraced as humanity... so I decided I am ultimately incredibly angry at their government (and the last number of decades of govt) but must sympathise with their people, as I never had before.

Such rambling... sorry. Watching the Olympics this year, however, has forced me to look largely at humanity and environment, and how both are covered by both governments and media respectively...

If only things were simple. And beautiful, as their city so is (minus the haze).

Steamboat said...

I agree that the Olympics was a jump start for their environmental awareness but will probably only last as long as the Olympics. The architecture of the city has grown and expanded and hopefully the people's conscience with it.


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