China chokes again


From the ABC:

A thick blanket of smog covering much of northern China has led the World Health Organisation (WHO) to declare a crisis.

Beijing has recorded its sixth day in a row of hazardous pollution with residents being warned to wear masks or stay indoors as a precaution.

Instruments have measured pollution levels above 450 on an air quality index – nine times the safe level for human beings.

Skyscrapers in the Chinese capital are barely visible through the haze.

The smog is even threatening crops, local scientists say, with the lack of sunlight reportedly causing a drastic slowdown in plant photosynthesis.

The authorities raised the pollution alert to the second-highest “orange” danger level for the first time on Friday after drawing public ire for its ineffective response.

“Of course, on days where pollution levels reach or even exceed the scale we are very concerned and we have to see this as a crisis,” Bernhard Schwartlander, the WHO representative in China, said.

“There’s now clear evidence that, in the long term, high levels of air pollution can actually also cause … lung cancer.”

Authorities have introduced countless orders and policies and made innumerable vows to clean up the environment but the problem only seems to get worse.

The government has invested in projects and empowered courts to mete out stiff penalties but enforcement has been patchy at the local level, where authorities often depend on the taxes paid by the polluting industries.

Hebei, a major industrial region which surrounds Beijing, is home to some of the most polluted cities in China.

Shijiazhuang, the capital of Hebei province, routinely recorded “beyond index” measurements of particulate matter in early 2013.

The China Academy of Sciences identified the province as a major source of noxious smog that hung over Beijing a year ago.

The government said in an action plan for Hebei in September that it would ban new projects in certain industries, close outdated steel and cement facilities and slash coal use.

There’ll be no let up on the steel crackdown seemingly.

Houses and Holes
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      • mine-otour in a china shop

        Yes lets focus 3d1k – oh yeah that right I cant see anything through the haze and other shite.

        Australian Coal – the energy source of the 19th century – out of sight out of mind.

      • Free cigarette smoke? Or, great new innovative clean technology will come from this?? Really struggling here…

      • There’s a lot to admire about the US.
        There’s a lot to admire about Europe and the UK.
        There’s a lot to admire about Japan and Korea.
        China? I’m really struggling to come up with anything.

        Human rights?
        China scores pretty poorly on all counts.

        Of course you don’t give a flying fuck as long they keep buying Aussie dirt to build stuff they don’t need.

      • Come on guys are you all blind, you must be able to see 3d1k’s wallet getting bigger by the hour even through that haze.

  1. And no let-up in the number of wealthy Chinese that send their kids to be educated in Australia and buy property without consideration of the price.

  2. Akin to a nuclear winter where there is not enough sunlight for efficient photosynthesis, what an awesome outcome!

    They wan’t farm land here? Can’t imagine why

  3. Pollution is one of the main reasons millions of rich and merely rich Chinese are desperate to get their money and then their families out of the country. To lands where the sky is blue and air and water are clean. Lands like ours…

    • Let them eat excrement & chemical residues – is this is why Australian / NZ Govt elites ALLOW China to export Foodstuffs to us ? – I don’t mind buying goods & clothing from China -there’s not much choice – but food is another matter!

      We all must write in with objections & try to change our dear leaders agreement on Food imports. We can make a difference. I have send heads up emails( with Link to MB Article Feb 21) to 7 NZ Ministers & Health/Food Ministries in both countries. Have received 10 replies that the emails have been read !

      If more join in – they can’t ignore forever.

      • Hate to break it to you but all the chemicals they use in clothing production as absorbed through your skin.

        I avoid clothing from China like the plague too.

      • @lloydie depends what you wash with/in 🙂

        Generally the idea is stick to 100% cotton/wool as they have the least chemicals added. Also note that dry cleaning is extremely poisonous and again with built up exposure to the chemicals used soaking through your skin its not a good idea.

        But that’s just me, with my tinfoil hat on apparently.

      • Migtronix, AURules,

        How do you avoid food grown in Australia or NZ that has included low quality Chinese Fertilisers, Feeds and Agrochemicals? Lots of businesses in Australia are forced to use these just to keep their heads above water.

        If they don’t hit you one way they will hit you another way.

      • Migtronix, unfortunately it is difficult to escape chemicals. If you’re worried about chemicals in clothing then I’d also avoid sitting on public toilets or the toilets at work. You wouldn’t believe the harsh chemicals we’re made to use in the cleaning industry. It’s ridiculous, especially when less toxic cleaners are often just as effective.

      • It’s ridiculous, especially when less toxic cleaners are often just as effective.

        Ah, but more expensive, I’m sure.

      • RobW,

        While talking about cleaning it also probably worth mentioning those hand sanitisers, many of which have been found to include endocrine disrupters.

      • @RobW: I hear you, I often have to go into the hospitals/ICUs and what they’ve got going on there in terms of chemicals is insane (in that case understandable but still)

        EDIT: @notsofast Yup you’re on the ball 🙂

    • I’d agree with that.

      Arguably it’s worse, as if the manufacturing had stayed in western countries, stricter rules would have meant less pollution for a given output. Ignoring pollution looks to be one of the ways the Chinese have gained a cost advantage.

      • … and the Chinese get away with a massive economic expansion because there is no monetary price on pollution (ie, a carbon tax!!!)

      • I think you’ll find putting a price on pollution is “Green propaganda” and is morally indefensible. Just ask our resident mining industry spruikbot.

    • Reactor restarts? Not sure why all these people needed to wait for the government to formally announce it. They’ve been implying it to the media for months.

      More and more reactors have been submitted to the regulator. Industry leaders are fed up with power prices and public sentiment against nuclear has waned.

      LNG will be the fall guy in all of this.

    • Nuclear power isn’t just as bad, realistically it seems likely to be our only way out of this fossil fuel dead end. Yes Fukushima was a terrible event but it was caused by hubris and greed.

      Yes Nuclear power needs to be managed properly, reactors designed by the Yanks in the 60’s should have been closed down long ago. Safety measures should be held up, thorium and other techniques should be considered, serious money should be spent on R&D for fusion. etc etc.

      The gun is not the killer ….

      • When your electricity generation industry is really a feeder for nuclear weapons programs the outcomes are not going to be safety oriented. If they’re willing to stockpile enough armaments to blow up the world do you think they give a sh!t about a leak here or there?

      • Exactly 3ris.

        I recommend a doco called pandoras promise for anyone who really knows nothing about nuclear power… its interesting

      • Im assuming you are talking about Iran Migs? Nothing to stress about there, Mossad will kill most of their scientists before they even get close to high levels of enrichment.

        People seem to get hysterical when talking about nuclear power. The evidence points to it as being the safest form of energy we have.

        Waiting for the day there’s as much of an outcry about the huge yearly death toll from coal or the killing of endangered birds by wind turbines.

      • @Rock:Not at all I’m talking about US/UK/France/Japan(US)/Russia, the reason they use 238 reactors is to produce plutonium for refinement as weapons grade. The Iranians are just trying to catch up.

        EDIT: we can stop coal tomorrow and it would leave little to trace of its existence, ditto for turbines, Fukushima however will need containment for centuries! I think your mixing up risk/reward there.

      • I’d say coal will leave its mark on earth for centuries (millenia even?) to come. We have burnt way too much of it. The risk of a Fukushima every 100 years is easily worth the trillions of kwh and tiny emissions.

        The amount of rare earth minerals that would need to be mined to produce that much power from wind would be a much greater environmental catastrophe.

        There’s no easy way forward but the decisions should be based on science and fact, not hysteria.

      • Fact: Plutonium half life decay 24,100 years!

        What you say about coal being too much and with us for centuries is conjecture.

  4. “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” – Peter Drucker

    The world is so busy making things today which we don’t need that it has forgotten about tomorrow. There is so much waste and pollution in this world, every human being should be ashamed.

  5. Mig,

    Maybe rocksteadys referring to the Co2. It will be in the atmosphere for how long? It will change the ph of the sea for ever?
    Its not as exciting as nukes but life without shellfish aint gonna be nice.