Friday, 27 May 2016

Quote of the Day: Smog is a Meteorological Disaster

Intense smog days in Beijing may now be called "meteorological disasters"
This news item should be filed under "absurdity of the day": Beijing authorities are considering classifying severe smog days as "meteorological disasters", along with torrential rain, blizzards and drought, according to draft regulations on natural disaster mitigation submitted yesterday.

Director of the municipal government's legal affairs office, Liu Zhengang, said smog was "a combined result of man-made pollution and natural weather conditions", so it was appropriate to call the phenomenon a meteorological disaster," reported the Beijing News.

Tianjin and Hebei, Beijing's neighbours, have already classified smog as weather disasters, so the authorities in the Chinese capital felt it was "necessary" to do the same for "regional cooperation on tackling smog", the report said.

Apparently meteorological disasters caused 111 deaths in Beijing from 2001 to 2014, and caused direct financial losses of 22.5 billion yuan.

Heavy smog deters many from venturing outside
The regulations call for the capital city to set up "wind corridors", where the heights of buildings will be regulated to harness natural breezes to channel smog from urban areas.

How can the government regulate this when there are so many tall buildings up already?

And really? Smog is a meteorological disaster?

Sounds like the government wants to avoid having to take responsibility for the air pollution in the city, and blame it on Mother Nature.

Before the Beijing Olympics -- almost eight years ago -- the city prided itself on being able to control the weather by shooting silver iodide cloud seeding into the air to make it rain.

However it seems unable to control the amount of air pollution spewing into the atmosphere

Beijing's annual PM2.5 levels still stood at 80.6 micrograms per cubic metre last year, eight times the safety limit recommended by the World Health Organization.

Perhaps the government is shirking from its responsibility because the task of tackling air pollution is so overwhelming that it doesn't know where to begin?

The so-called "wind corridors" are a cop out. Reminds me of when the Hong Kong government wanted to reclaim land from Victoria Harbour, saying it would be a good thing to make the speed of the water flowing through the area move faster, so it could flush out contaminants.

However, the water is rushing so fast now that hardly any sea life can be detected below.

If Hong Kong was a true democracy -- and China too -- would these inept officials still be in power?

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