About five years ago I was lucky enough to spend a year working in Beijing, sucking up all the culture the city had to offer while enjoying the sense of adventure felt when living on the other side of the world. It was by far one of the best years of my life and of all the places I’ve travelled to, I would say that China has to be one of my favourites. The people, the food, the nightlife and the Baiju. Plus it was pretty interesting to live in a country that was still so heavily censored. Not having Facebook for an entire year was almost a Godsend.
But despite its many offerings, there’s one downside to the country that is felt not only by its citizens, but also by the rest of the world – its severe pollution problem. China has the highest population rates going, holding over 18% of the entire world’s population. Combine this with the fact that it is the manufacturing hub of the world and the resulting factor has been the heavy pollution of its air and water supply.
Living in Beijing, I could see the evidence for myself. The air quality index readings reached catastrophic levels more than a couple of times and for several days of the week the skyline outside my window was not visible due to the thick smog that covered it. At the time I was working in a school and while I remembered have “wet play” break times when it was raining outside, these kids had “pollution days” where they were not allowed to play outside due to the dangerously smoggy air. And with the world heading where it is with regards to climate change and global warming, if anything China’s pollution should stand as a warning to the rest of the world that we need to be making drastic changes if we want to save the planet.
Unfortunately, what with Donald Trump being a climate change denier, this might be a slow process, but we can only try. Although it’s highly unlikely that the future US president is reading this, I’m going to aim the following photos at Trump to prove just how buggered China’s pollution problem really is:
And if you still don’t believe in China’s pollution problem, just be aware that Chinese residents have resorted to buying bottles of fresh air from Canada.