China’s environmental watchdog admitted Monday the country had failed to reach any of its pollution control goals for 2006 and had fallen further behind as the economy picked up speed.
The State Environmental Protection Agency said faster-than-expected economic growth meant that sulfur dioxide emissions increased by nearly 1.8 percent, or 463,000 tons, over the previous year, according to a report on its Web site.
An even more damning report from Germany’s Spiegel magazine talks about how China’s environmental failures are impacting the rest of the world.
While the overall picture remains gloomy, there are some measures, albeit small ones, that might make life a little better. Say that you’re sticking your head out of the window of a car zipping through Fuxing Tunnel, and you notice that the air is a bit fresher than before. That’s because there’s a special kind of paint that sucks up pollutants being tested on a 120 meter stretch of the road near (or in) the tunnel.
The New Scientist has a somewhat technical explanation of this technology, but we found another website that tells it like it is for the layman:
Advanced photocatalytic chemicals, which use UV light to transform pollutants into harmless mineral salt dust, are now available. The technology has existed for some time, but is now being combined with paints and road surface materials to help tackle pollution where it matters most – on city streets.
If the paint is fairly cheap and comes in different colors, you could paint just about everything with it, including buildings. Everywhere you go, you could have a building sucking up pollutants from the air—sounds like a plan to us.
Despite the huge obstacles that China faces, things are going to get better—or at least that’s what a certain Chinese academic report suggests. In the Boston Globe we read that by mid-century (by which time we will most likely already be dead or dying) life expectancy in China is going to jump to 85 years and all households will be lifted out of poverty.
Picture from Spiegel Online