The thick smog in China has been on the news for quite some time now. The incredible number of lives that have been affected by the toxic fumes in urban areas across the country have increased dramatically and it seems not much is being done to tackle the issue.
The severity of the disaster is so huge, that regardless of the numerous efforts scientists and international organizations make to raise the awareness, the Chinese officials seem to be unable to handle it and choose to be inactive. This is probably the reason why a Chinese reporter tried to give a (hopefully) sarcastic spin to the situation, claiming that smog makes people much funnier, smarter, and more unite. You don’t believe it? Here is what he has to say.
Over the past week, the levels of air pollution measured over more than a hundred cities in China, have hit sky-high numbers. The concentrations greatly exceed what the World Health Organization recommends, making these areas extremely dangerous for their citizens. Scientists have used various methods to detect the smog over Shanghai and Beijing, estimating levels almost twenty times higher than these considered safe.
NASA is releasing incredible and at the same time quite disturbing pictures acquired by different satellite sensors in order to highlight the danger, but while this is happening, the local press is taking a slightly different approach. An article published in one of the major media networks, CCTV, by the reporter Wang Lei, outlines a number of what could be considered controversial or simply very sarcastic arguments that present smog as very beneficial to the Chinese society.
To start with, according to the journalist, it brings people together and it might very soon urge the nation to unite on an anti-smog front. The haze plays the role of the common enemy, and everyone should join forces against it.
In addition, because it affects both richer and poorer, the smog can be seen as a mean to remind people that they are all equal, and are equally affected by it regardless of their social status.
The smog can also be considered an eye-opener. While the country celebrates the era of great industrial growth, the nation seems to be forgetting that such success comes at a cost. The reporter points out that the status of “the world’s factory” and consequently the increased standard of living does not guarantee happiness.
Furthermore, apparently the smog has increased greatly people’s knowledge of geography, environment and meteorology, and it has improved their English language skills introducing them to terms such as “haze” and “smog”, which they would never have otherwise heard of.
And last but not least, quite ironically, the reporter claims that the smog has made people a lot funnier. He points out that to cope with this situation, the only thing people can really do is to make jokes about it.
All in all, let’s hope the article is just an indicator that indeed the nation is desperately looking for ways to handle the problem and remind the national leadership that this is not a negligible issue. The problem is severe, and leaving all jokes aside, new technologies and policies have to be implemented as soon as possible. Action plan has to be put into force on national level by the country’s governmental officials in order to minimize the emissions from the coal industry and vehicles and prevent even greater disaster from happening.
Image (c) Reuters