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Thursday, December 01, 2005


HELP, I can't breath!

I don’t expect Hong Kong to have really clean air. They are too close to mainland China and the factories, and there are just too many people for such a lofty expectation. However, I would like to see Kowloon from my Hong Kong flat!

These last couple of weeks have been even worse the normal. I use to think it was fog, but it is the haze of pollution – I get that now. Two recent events brought this home.

First, I recently went to Guangdong and saw what really bad pollution is. Most buildings have a black smoke emitting from them and I literally could not breathe – my nose was plugged – and you could almost feel the particulates in the air. On the train, when I looked out the window at the banana trees the leaves were literally gray. Not because they were dead, but because they were covered with pollution (this makes me wonder about the safety of eating vegetables from China now too – but that is a different topic).

The second event was from a hike last weekend. It was not only because I could not see the peak next to us, but because that night and the following few days I had a cough and my lungs felt congested and my nose was stuffed. I go out to get exercise, and actually probably damaged my lungs. In fact, I have heard stories of people who train outdoors in Hong Kong getting lung infections and pneumonia because of the pollution.

There seems to be lots of talk from the Chinese government about working on the problem, and I hope that something is done soon and we will start seeing some of the fruits of the stricter regulations. I guess it is probably similar to Los Angeles and other US cities in the 70s and 80s so I don’t want to be too critical. Hopefully they can learn from the mistakes and changes in the US and have a quick impact.

For more information, you can check out Clean The Air -- Hong Kong.


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