Steve's China Blog

Friday, June 10, 2005

Watch the dirt

I want to go see how much it would cost to get a camcorder here. I would love to just walk down the street recording what it's like here. One of the things I like about the place is that almost everyone is pretty casual in how they dress. Now that the weather is getting warmer I sometimes see people in the evening walking down the sidewalk wearing their pajamas... now that's casual.

The one thing I don't like about here is the pollution. Dalian is touted as the cleanest city in China, but it still seems dirtier than the dirtiest city in the US. There are a couple of reasons for this... first is all of is the construction. China is probably the fastest developing country when it comes to construction of new buildings, and all of that dirt, dust, cement, smoke, and other materials get everywhere. Ever see in the movies how people remove their shoes when the enter a house in Asia and think it's a quaint custom? Actually, it's to keep people from tracking all of the dirt into the house. I've been told I shouldn't go barefoot, even in my apartment, since I might get sick from the dirty floors so I wear slippers indoors.

Another pollution problem is the rapid rise of automobile use without any emission standards (none that I've seen anyways). Some days it gets quite smoggy here with all of that, plus what comes out of the factories. There is also a problem with water pollution. The water that comes out of the tap is not drinkable, and I have to do things like use bottled water when I brush my teeth and avoid ice cubes in drinks just to be safe. It's a pain in the ass sometimes, but you get use to it.

The major thing that I noticed when I first got here though is all the litter. For a lot of jobs, like picking up trash, China depends on a huge workforce of manual laborers. But as the economy improves more and more people are moving out of manual occupations, so there are less and less people to go around picking up the trash. I think it is going to take awhile before people here can change their habits and start throwing their litter in a nearby trash can instead of just dropping it on the street.

Next time you hear one of those environmentalist wackos in the west say how dirty the air or water is over there, tell them to come over here. Since I think most of them are just fruit-cakes who love to complain and don't really care about the environment, I doubt I'll see any of them here anytime soon.


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