This morning we woke up to this. It looks even worse than two days ago. The pollution index for our area currently stands at 386 at the time of writing (still well over hazardous) and we aren’t expecting any change for another couple of days at least.
As you can see from the photographs, visibility was reduced to barely a few metres (it has since improved this afternoon). We couldn’t even see the outline of the tower block across the road.
The Huffington Post described the pollution levels currently seen here “as some of the highest pollution levels EVER recorded”.
Meanwhile, I’m now coughing up green stuff. I chose not to play football this afternoon. I thought about going to the gym to do some weights instead (cardio is out of the question), but decided that also wouldn’t be particularly smart. I feel as though I’m slowly becoming a prisoner in my own home. Admittedly, I’m doing so out of my own free will, but what’s the alternative?
This isn’t just one freak day we are talking about, this has been going on for days now, and has been getting progressively worse for weeks.
There are still lots of people out and about, commuting, working, living – going about their daily life, but I wonder – what effect is this all going to have on their health, life expectancy, even their fertility, in years to come.
How many of them have an understanding of the effects all this could be be having on their health?
I’m no expert, but I’ve been doing some reading on the short-term effects; and far more worryingly, the long-term effects here.
Modern China has become an environmental catastrophe, created in part by hungry consumers in developed nations desire for cheaply manufactured goods, and a government with no concern for the environment or the health of its populace, which has embraced an “economic growth at all costs” philosophy for the last thirty years. There’s no end-game in sight to this, and I can’t for the life of me see how it’s going to get better before it gets worse.
I’ve found a great website with lots of information about air pollution in general, in and around London. I then compared the figures and information provided to that in Nanjing.
Below is a graphic I found which showed the mean distribution of PM2.5 pollutants in London, over the course of a year (2010). Almost the entire city is below twenty. In Nanjing, I can’t remember the last time I saw the measurements below two hundred.
Firstly, thank you for democracy, freedom of information and transparency in providing us with this map, and allowing us a sense of perspective.
Secondly, there are apparently big concerns about air pollution in the UK. If I had never lived in China, I would be concerned by this article. Now I’m currently in China, I’m pretty much thinking…
I’m a British citizen… get me the hell out of here!