We heard the most interesting and disturbing lecture last night by a local University professor who had been requested to speak to us by our guide after we had been asking questions about environmental problems. These were motivated by our experience in Xian where the "sun never shines" or at least hardly and then only slightly penetrates the smog overhea,d caused mainly by the coal mines and refineries in the region. Our lecturer to our amazement was very forthright about the problem."I am very pessimistic" he began. And then he gave us a brief historical perspective of the history of the problem which had really only begun in 1997 as China opened up and began to make a huge leap into the 21st century by building the biggest, the most wonderful, the most Western country in the world. It has done so, he stated, at a "very great cost."
What can be done and whether anything will be done remains to be seen. Government inspectors inspect a place and threaten to close it down, the owner knows someone, provides some money or does a favor for a government official and nothing is done. The plant stays open. Relationships are everything in China.
I will continue this discussion in another blog.