I don’t have official statistics, but I believe the pollution in Shanghai is worse this year than the last year. Why? From my observation, there are almost no blue sky in Shanghai in the last few months. It is partly due to the rainy season, but I just feel I was too excited to see the blue sky of today.
Today is an exception.
The sky was blue and there are white clouds in the sky – very beautiful, and the visibility of the air is much better than average. I can see the Jinmao tower clearly from Xujiahui.
This is good, but days like this is so rare in Shanghai.
Discussion about Blue Sky
Today reminded me of an interesting discussion under an old blog article. Once I posted some pictures of the Bay Area to my blog, and there are readers from mainland commented:
“Look at the blue sky!”
Actually, not one person. Many of them. They are surprised to see the blue sky in the California in the pictures.
More interestingly, people from the States (I guess) commented that they were very surprised to find out the fact that someone will be surprised to see blue sky, which is their everyday life.
What a sad story. I feel very bad when I saw the conversation and deeply concerned about the pollution in China.
Many People Forgot about What Natural should Look Like
The much more frustrating fact is, in China, many people including me, have forgotten what the natural should really like. When we see some pictures (like the default desktop of Windows Vista), we just don’t believe there are such thing in the nature.
Last time when I visited Australia, I was so surprised to see the water in the river. It is acturally clear – to be honest, I never saw such water in middle or eastern China. The only time I saw such clear water was in Daocheng – the distant Tibet area that almost no people live there.
The Story of a River
Let’s talk about river.
Victor lives in village in rural area of Shanghai in Jiading District. He recalls that the river besides his home was suitable for swimming when he was young. When we visited the river last Saturday, it smell so badly that we want to leave it as soon as possible. The river was dark yellow and I doubted any fish could survive there.
I suspect it was due to the Paper Manufacturing Factory nearby.
The Story of my Home Town
The even more astonishing fact is, people don’t care about pollution at all (especially the government).
Last summer, I went back to my hometown, and one of my distant relatives came to our home and introduced the investment environment of the area. He was now a government official of the town, and pitched us to spend about 20,000 RMB to get some land in our hometown and open a factory.
Is there any additional benefit to open factory here?
His answer was:
You can setup factory that pollute the environment! In east area (he means the coastal area), they (he means the local government) control it too tight and you may not be able to open such factory. We (he means the local government in my home town) welcome all such factories!
This was the benefit they gave to factory owners.
Hope? Not Really
I hope there are more blue sky like today in Shanghai, and I am sure there will be less blue sky in my home town if nothing is done about it.
As you say, many small cities or towns haven’t realized the importance of the mother nature.
If there have economy benifits they will open more and more factories like this.
How can we do?
It is not in their interest to realize the importance of mother nature. The economy benefits is that they can have a good GDP figure when they write their annual report to their boss, and maybe in the process of opening more factories there is more chance to take bribe. China is operating like a big cooperation instead of a country and government officials are like managers, all the citizens are just like workers. It is a lot easier to understand things in China if you think of it this way.
It is difficult to get a person to understand something when their salary depends on their not understanding it.
If they continue doing this, our earth will die, and the only planet in solar system will have no life.
I don’t want see stars only in Stellarium software.
I know it sounds cliche to again complain about the silly government, but we do have thousands of reasons to hate this stupid government, many people tell me the government(top leaders) actually know about what to expect from the future since they themselves abandoned our own future, but they simply have no idea of how to gradually learn from mistakes, coz simply the mistakes of all kinds are repeated again and again everyday by the same local government.
At http://www.envir.gov.cn/Eng/Airep/index.asp you can compare this summer’s air pollution in Shanghai to last year’s and it seems to be better, as you predict. There were spikes last winter, and some “yellow fog” where people died then. It seems it has not been necessary to issue warnings to reduce exercise and energy use or to close river navigation. If you still had your webcam operating maybe we could compare the numbers to what you see out your window. Maybe the numbers will improve if the city carries out plans to control pollution better, but the targets are made by SEPA elsewhere and perhaps the number are not so truthful?
It would be good if there were numbers for carbon monoxide and ozone, two pollutants that are invisible and produced not by coal-to-electricity plants but by cars, trucks, and buses. It seems that these are deadlier in the summer because people open windows, and they affect women more than men (cardiovascular deaths), and at street level near traffic. In certain meteorological situations such as inversions these pollutants can be trapped and increase quickly for days. CO and O3 have been measured in Shanghai (8 hour averages) but haven’t been regularly reported to the public.
In America the air used to be much more polluted but people organized and forced the government to do something and now the air in big cities is much cleaner. Let’s hope bloggers like you can do the same here.
One final question: why is the sky blue?
Maybe it is because of Shanghai entering Autumn, and the change in the pressure of the forces in the air.
It was due to typhood Sepat was in proximity of Shanghai and the reversed east wind, the sea breeze from the ocean blowed the pollutant inland.