For this month blog I would like to share an amazing proof of pollution in the environment I was able to experience in China. For the past week I was in China, I was able to visit two of the main cities, Shanghai and Beijing. In both cities you can see the pollution. At the beginning I though it was fog but since it didn’t go away through the day I learned that it was pollution. China suffers from pollution mainly in the cities because they are very populated. In my trip I learned that they have implemented plans in order to decrease this issue but in all honestly while I was there I didn’t see any effort from anyone on helping the environment. Most people just opt in wearing a face mask and that way avoid the intake of the polluted air. In Shanghai I was not able to feel the pollution at all, I just saw a little fog.
Shanghai is in the East part of China towards the South. In this city the weather was the very nice, it was sunny most days we were there, the sky was blue with a few clouds, there was also a nice breeze since its close to the ocean and it was not cold nor hot. The temperature was perfect for walking around the city; temperatures were between the 60’s and 70’s which made it very enjoyable. There is a river separating downtown Shanghai and the other side of the city, there is a very nice boardwalk, that gives a great view to downtown Shanghai. On this boardwalk I was able to see people enjoying nature, by working out, or meeting outside for coffee. This picture was from the first day I was in Shanghai, Monday the 20th, the buildings are very easy to see and you can notice the river has a brownish color since its mainly used by ships to bring in materials from the sea into the city.
Beijing on the other hand is very different. Starting with its location, it is still towards the East but more North and not close the ocean. The weather in this city was completely different. It was chilly the days I was there, with temperatures between 45F and 65F. Since it is so polluted it was very hard to see the sun or the sky, so most days it was just dark and gray, kind of depressing. Also as soon as I got out of the train I felt the change in the air, it didn’t feel clean at all and there was smog all day. One of the ways I noted how dirty it was, was by not wearing any make up and when I got back to the hotel room wipe my face with make up remover, it is normal to have dirt since you have been exposed to it on the streets, but the wipe came out black, full of dirt. Also, another way to notice the pollution was that during the firsts days I would breathe normally and actually think people wearing the face masks were over reacting, but after a couple of days I started noticing the tone of my voice a little deep, coughing frequently and feeling my throat uncomfortable. As I said above in this city pollution is a serious issue, because in the long run it has to affect your lungs severely. I did not notice any precaution in order to reduce the pollution, on the other hand there are lots of cars, lots of buses and almost every one smokes, so none of this help prevent this issue from growing.
This is one of the examples of the fog in Beijing, most days were like this were you could barely see what was across the street since it was so foggy. The quote that I chose for this blog is on page 214 “a system of conservation based solely on on economic self-interest is hopelessly lopsided. It tends to ignore, and thus eventually to eliminate, many elements in the land community that lack commercial value, but that are (as far as we know) essential to its healthy functioning” Aldo Leopold. I think this quote goes perfect with my experience in China because this country’s economy has grown immensely in the past decade, mainly because the cities have grown a lot and businesses have moved there and invested there, pumping the economy. However, I think everyone is so focused on the great Chinese economy, that they don’t put enough attention to other issues that are equally important, such as air quality. As the quote says air quality may not have a great commercial value but it is essential to a healthy functioning. These people expose their lungs on a daily basis to this horrible air; in the long run it would not be unexpected for them to develop cancer or another disease. In my opinion this is a serious matter and it should be taken as seriously as any economic matter because a country should want their people to be healthy in order to keep growing in a positive way. Conservation should not be based only on the economy, but also on environmental policies that should be practiced and taken seriously in order to prevent this issue from getting worse.