Thursday, November 13, 2008

But I Didn't Inhale

Did everyone see this NY Times story that China is covered in toxic industrial soot? That it's blotting the sun out by 20 percent in some places?

Yancey and I could both have told you that. We were there in April of 2001, and yeah, I don't remember who ended up sicker. No, I do remember. Yancey was sicker than me at that point. But I'd been assimilating already by then, through Bangkok and Hanoi. Didn't help me in Cairo though. I got a horrible cough there initially.

I wonder how the clouds would have looked over the Northeast US during the Industrial Revolution, or if it was just too much "smaller" a world then to have the same impact.


ew said...

1950s Pittsburgh PA was described as "Hell with the lid pealed off"
and white collar workers routinely brought a change of shirts for the afternoon.

Anonymous said...

When my ex was growing up in Pittsburgh in the 50's, there were days when the air was so bad that his mother would tie a white hankerchief around his face so that he breathed through it on his way to school. By the time he got to school, the white handkerchief was gray with the soot that he otherwise would've breathed in.
Of course, what fixed the air in Pittsburgh was the collapse of the US steel industry, not any conscious efforts to clean up the air. Which does not bode well for China or Cairo.