As my allergies are acting up, exacerbated by the wind blowing anything and everything through the air, my thoughts drift to China and that country’s smog, which from the photos I’ve seen, looks more like dense coastal fog. Late last year, China’s state-run media tried to convince its citizens that the smog was good for them, much to the entertainment of many of us. We laughed at the country’s attempt to put a positive spin on a very serious problem. Many Chinese citizens didn’t take the propaganda lightly, however. They became enraged by the statements.
China is reportedly making attempts to reduce the smog, but it appears, from what I’ve read, to be a band-aid approach considering the size of both the country and the problem, with little noticeable gains for years to come. Whatever the country’s efforts are or will be, one thing is certain: China will continue for the foreseeable future to export smog to the U.S. What was once a problem only for states along the Pacific Coast has now spread as far east as South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma.
Here in southern California we do a good job of producing smog all by ourselves. We don’t need imported smog, thank you very much! Yes, more needs to be done right at home to reduce the pollution we generate.
Findings from a study conducted by researchers at the University of California, Irvine, and elsewhere showed: Los Angeles experiences at least one extra day a year of smog that exceeds federal ozone limits because of nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide emitted by Chinese factories making goods for export. On other days, as much as a quarter of the sulfate pollution on the U.S. West Coast is tied to Chinese exports. All the contaminants tracked in the study are key ingredients in unhealthy smog and soot.
It’s not just factories and power plants in China causing the smog. There are all the container ships bringing goods to ports in Long Beach/Los Angeles and other ports in the U.S., then returning to China. And there are the continual streams of trailer trucks on the highways carrying the goods from the ports to the multiple-acres-big distribution centers, and then the trailer trucks loading up and hauling said goods to all states in the union.
Obviously, we’re to blame for some of this problem of smog and soot. We continue to buy made-in-China goods that keep the pollution-spewing factories humming. We must stop buying “made in China” (I say as I compose this article on my Designed in California, Assembled in China Apple computer. The labels don’t say where the parts are manufactured. Is ‘assembled’ a safer, more appealing way of saying ‘made in China’, Mr. Cook?)
We must demand that U.S.-headquartered Chinese-manufacturing companies make the products they sell right here in the USA. This country needs to create jobs, needs to bolster our still-weak economy, needs to get factory machinery humming again.