Category Archives: Environment

Everyone smokes here

The Airpocalypse continues.

A picture of a smoggy day in Wuxi, China, December 2013.The air quality in Wuxi has continued to be vile for a third day, having risen by a hund­red points to an AQI reading of 352 at 4.00am this morning, since when it’s per­sist­ent­ly been above 340 all day. I assume that this is the consequence of an inversion layer sitting on top of China causing the smog to build up. (As I write this, some thoughtful person is making things just that bit worse by setting off some fireworks; but in­tel­lig­ence and consideration are not really qualities of the average imperial citizen; in fact, if Descartes had been Chinese, he would’ve eaten the dog after killing it so brutally, and would’ve said ‘I pollute, therefore I am’.)

Yesterday, the PM 2.5 and PM 10 readings were over 300, but at the time of writing, they’ve dropped to a less lethal 239 and 272. I should take up smoking since I’m sure that would be less injurious to my health than the stuff thickening the air like lethal cornflour.

Now that the temperature has dropped, wearing a mask while I’m riding my bike is not such a trial as it used to be. In fact, I notice that quite a lot of people have been wearing masks today, including many of the pupils at school.

I see the PM was in China recently. He complained about a Bloomberg reporter being excluded from a press conference, but I assume he phoned his boss (Li Keqiang) who phoned the emperor, who said it was all right for Cameron to complain so that (to a domestic audience) it would look like Britain was standing up to China.

The Smogpocalyse drags on. (06.12.13)

Smog in Wuxi, China, December 2013Things have got worse. At the time of writing, the AQI is 354, PM 2.5 440, and PM 10 545.

Meanwhile, outside, there’s some sort of student market. Instead of the school banning such a thing and telling children to remain inside, their lordships seem quite happy for all of them to breathe the vile and unbreathable air. Of course, the students aren’t helping themselves by opening the windows of their classrooms.

In fact, in any reasonable country, we would all have been told to stay home. On the other hand, if we were told to stay home, we’d probably end up having various weekends stolen from us.

As far as I’m currently aware, there’s no end in sight.

Today’s picture was the scene looking east at about 5pm. At the current time of writing, the AQI is 387, PM 2.5 379, and PM 10 494. What is being done about this?

Shuffling off this mortal miasma. (10.12.13)

Yesterday morning was very dull and grey, and the AQI had started rising again after hitting a peak of 387 about 24 hours earlier.

It was, though, the arrival of a cold front from the north that has finally seen off the smog, and this morning, the air is comparatively less filthy in that I can see the buildings in town clearly, although I can’t see the line of 锡山 to the east. Still, this is a vast improvement over the view out of my window for the past week.

Chengdu Saturday

What’s the deal with the weather?
In the past five weeks (or possibly even longer ago than that), there has been only one Saturday I can recall when the weather wasn’t rubbish. That was last Saturday. But to make up for it, this Saturday has been utter shite. It started raining last night and was prolonged enough and heavy enough to cause surface flooding. It was no more pleasant this morning and although the rain has stopped, it’s cool enough to warrant a scarf.
You might think that blogging about the weather is fairly desperate [It is. –ed.], but I’m noting a meteorological phenomenon. In the future, a string of rainy Saturdays will be known as the Chengdu Saturday Effect. For my discovery, I’ll be cited in all the best journals of meteorology and feted at annual gatherings of meteorologists. [And does the so-called Chengdu Saturday Effect include inane, lunatic ramblings? –ed.]
If the weather looks like it’s going to remain dry this afternoon, I might go in search of Alatriste again. [20.08.14. A big mistake. The film was awful.]

Snow in Sichuan

Settle down.

As you can see from the pictures, last night’s snow actually settled, although it was little more than a dusting. I had a phone call from Linda this morning asking me to come to school and take some photos of her and Rose. Unfortunately, by the time I got there, the snow on the running track had vanished and was rapidly disappearing elsewhere. It hasn’t completely vanished. As I was coming home from Zoe’s this evening, I spotted a snowman that someone had made on top of one of the cars back along the street.

A dusting of snow Rose and Linda cavorting in the snow

Teaching should be done at room temperature

Report finds frozen children ‘less excitable’.

Well, it turns out that the lack of heating in our classrooms is policy. I should remind viewers that our students’ parents pay extra for them to be in our classes. I should also remind viewers that Chinese high schools are pay-per-view anyway. Are parents paying for their single offspring to be frozen? Where’s all the money from their school fees gone?

Update: The heating was on in our classrooms this afternoon. Don’t know where the impetus for that came from, though, but it was nice to be warm in class again.

There are worse stories. We’ve heard that one school has no heating. This is because there’s no central heating south of the Yangzi River, the belief apparently being that it’s never cold enough to need it. Perversely enough, I’m south of the Mediterranean Sea (as I think I’ve noted before), but I’m sure north Africa is warmer than this place.

The fog

Cutting it with a knife.

I’m not sure whether it’s a long time since I’ve seen fog this thick, or whether I’ve never actually seen fog this thick. The visibility is down to about 5m at best.

[19.06.13. I well remember this, and crossing the road to the school with some trep­id­ation because the cars and trucks didn’t seem to be slowing down or turning their lights on. Again, how were people not splattered all over the road?]