Notes of coal, hints of asbestos…

The other day I placed my nose above a glass of wine and picked up an intriguing aroma of car exhaust, construction site dust, coal, and asbestos. Then I realized that it wasn’t the wine, it was the overwhelming smell of Beijing air. Of course, I’m kidding – I don’t know what asbestos smell like – but the point is that the air is bad, very bad, and this is the worst sustained period of pollution I’ve experienced in a dozen years in Asia.

Providing context for this experience is a new blog –  Beijing Air: just how bad is it?. In easy-to-understand (and sobering) language, it explains the air pollution index, how China measures pollution vis-a-vis the United States and Europe, the impact of that recent four-day partial car ban, and how Beijing’s air fares in contrast to other Chinese cities.

Sobering stuff…

What is most disturbing to me about the current situation is that people are focused on whether the city can clean up for a few weeks – for the Olympics – rather than cleaning up in general.

Again, sobering stuff…

If that’s not enough to make me want to crack open a bottle of Glaetzer Shiraz – available from Palette Vino and with a powerful nose that will overwhelm the bad air -  then I don’t know what is.

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Another (grayish) blue sky day…

2 thoughts on “Notes of coal, hints of asbestos…”

  1. A friend and I helped my father in law put asbestos shingles on the sheep pen last May Day. Can’t say it smells of anything.

    But yeah, it’s been a bad summer.

  2. Chris,

    I will forever now associate the smell of sheep, and perhaps yangrou chuan’r, with asbestos.

    Cheers, Boyce

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