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China Earth Idle

Air Quality Apps and Bottled Air Thrive On Beijing's Pollution 102

itwbennett writes "Here's a bright spot in Beijing's off-the-chart bad air pollution: The market for mobile apps that monitor air quality is thriving. 'When the pollution went beyond the air quality index, all the social networks in China and media began paying attention to the problem,' said Wang Jun, one of the developers of the China Air Pollution Index app. 'This caused the downloads to increase 30 times.'" Obviously a Spaceballs fan, a Chinese man is even selling fresh air in cans.
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Air Quality Apps and Bottled Air Thrive On Beijing's Pollution

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  • Yanno (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Thursday January 31, 2013 @09:15PM (#42757457) Homepage Journal
    Here in ermer'ka, we don't have to chew the air because of the EPA. All the deregulation folks trying to close down the EPA should have to spend a month in Beijing, learning what it's like living without one. Just sayin'.
  • Re:Yanno (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Thursday January 31, 2013 @09:57PM (#42757707)
    Except for a lot of the reason why there's a lot of pollution in Beijing isn't because there's no EPA, but rather because of the property structure in China. In most countries, if you want to build X, you can build it wherever you can buy the land to build X. In China that isn't the case, all the land belongs to the government and all non-urban land is reserved for farming.

    Because of this, you've got China which has a lot of land and space for people (they're nowhere near the top of the list of population density) where everyone's crammed into cities like sardines if they want to work a non-agricultural job. And since the government owns the land, businesses can't move out of the cities. Because of this you've got a massive amount of smog because all the businesses are concentrated in such a small area.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 31, 2013 @11:03PM (#42758037)

    Before 'Green' became a marketing word, the original environmental action in the sixties was to clean up the air, the land and the water in the Western World. The pollution back then was obscene. Black smoke poured out of factories. Lake Erie was the synonym for 'really polluted.

    Burning Coal emits Mercury, Thorium and Sulfur. Mercury gets concentrated in the Fish. Sulfur falls out as acid rain.

    As to the Thorium, I spotted this in an web article, but could not find much out more about it and was not entirely satisfied that the information was 100 percent good. But here goes anyways. Coal contains Thorium and other radioactive materials that are released into the air when it is burnt. They do not purify coal before the burn it. Coal is a mixture of all sorts of stuff, most of flammable, but some of it other stuff. The scaremonger writing the piece claimed that coal plants spewed more radiactivity into the environment than a nuclear plant. Who knows for sure. I could not google enough up.

    They quietly shutdown all the coal plants around here. Almost like Shhh, don't say 'Thorium' or 'Class Action'. Sorta like they got rid of Leaded Gasoline, which according to the talk around the campfire is the reason for the long, slow, steady reduction in crime.

    As somewhat of a gearhead, there was always a lot of harangue about 'California' emission controls. I thought they were being overly anal. But looking at the air quality in Bejing is the universe telling me, Ahah! That what happens if you are not anal about everything that affects air quality.

    I hear about the Chinese Economic Miracle. But when I see the youtube videos of the 'Fog' in Bejing, the price they paid was too high. You could be the richest man in Bejing, but your quality of life, as a living creature, is horrible. This is not some abstract human rights issue. This is breathing filth into your lungs with every breath.

    And replace the coal plants with what? Nuclear? Oy. Brain Hurts.

    But still, the Chinese must start down the road to clean air and clean water with a single step. They have the world's worst problem and must become world leaders at solving this problem.

    The population is the largest in the world. The civilization is thousands of years old. They have cared for their environment all this time, and in turn, their environment has cared for them.

    There are almost tears on my keyboard. It is all so sad. I pray for the people of Beijing. I did not know the problem was so bad, but now I do. I write. I talk. I send about links. That is about all I can do.

    China, take those trillions of Worthless Fiat American Paper Dollars and buy your civilization clean air. The people of China are the most important asset of China. There is no election coming up. The planet is not going anywhere. There is no need for short term, quick buck expedient thinking.

    Oh. It is just so sad. I pray for Beijing.

  • Re:Yanno (Score:5, Interesting)

    by moondawg14 ( 1058442 ) on Thursday January 31, 2013 @11:07PM (#42758055)
    As is very often the case with China, the issue is much more complex than that. China does have emissions regulations, but the selectively enforce them. Most Chinese companies don't have the technology to create compliant products(automobiles and trucks, in this case) Nor do consumers have the money to purchase compliant products. So, rather than spend $$$$ on developing compliant products, companies will spend $$ to get the right person to sign off on their non-compliant product. This has a double-benefit of making Chinese products MUCH cheaper than foreign products (most foreign companies will not make a non-compliant product) and putting more Chinese manufacturing workers to work.

    Here in China, we use 80/20 as a rule of thumb: 80% of the products in a given market will be "fake." In my case, we find that about 80% of the competitors in the engine markets are selling non-compliant engines. One example: One of our competitors was selling an aftertreatment "catalyst" at retail for less than our material cost. So, we bought one and cut it open. Iron. No platinum or other catalysts. Well, pretty hard to compete on price when the other guy doesn't have to follow the rules.

    After living here for a year, I can tell you that "Money is King" in China. Nearly every single person is constantly on the hunt for where they're going to get their next infusion of cash. Putting enough money in the right hands can get you nearly anything, ANYTHING that you want. Until that cycle is somehow broken, China is going to continue to run headlong into the future with little concern for the long-term well-being of its environment and citizens.

People who go to conferences are the ones who shouldn't.