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China can learn lessons from Japan's progress in cleaning up smog

14 Comments
By ELAINE KURTENBACH

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combination of public protests and lawsuits, local government action, use of nuclear energy and upgrading of >industries and technology helped to turn the tide in the 1970s and ‘80s.

Not sure if I'd count the use of nuclear energy in the positive column.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

There was an interview done about the problems of pollution in China on NPR radio a couple of weeks back. The reporter was asking highly educated Chinese professors, men and women working on post-graduate degrees, and other people in academic circles about pollution problems that are plaguing China and what should be done about them for the future generations of Chinese.

The number one reply was rather scary in that all the respondents replied with basically the same answer, "Why should or why do we need to worry about a problem that will affect us (50, 60 or 100 years) after we are dead?" " We need to take care of today, and worry about today, let the people after us deal with tomorrow!"

I thought about that response for quite a while, and it gave me an different insight about how I view China and Chinese people that we get down here as tourists (bad manners, etc etc) and I thought, if people from China are only concerned about "today" and not the future, then why care about the little things.

China in many ways is just like Japan. If someone wrote a reverse article talking about how Japan could learn from China about something or another, the Japanese people would reject it out of hand as interfering with an internal problem.

However these environmental problems that BOTH countries have, ironic an article now about how China can copy Japan when just yesterday there was an article discussing how Japan lags behind in issues regarding climate change,

http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/japan-ranked-among-worst-performing-nations-in-tackling-climate-change

Kind of typical response here, obfuscate and deflect, taking the focus off your own failures or inaction.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Does anyone else notice a pattern of how most of Japan's actions to control pollution were direct actions against the federal government? I remember studying Odaiba in high school. At that time it was the world's largest garbage island. It was closed not onlt from domestic protest, but also from a lot of international protest. These 'lessons' mentioned in this article come from a democratic society and action by people against the government. This could never happen in China.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

There is an underlying assumption here that Japan went from dirty to squeaky clean, except for those pollutants allegedly coming from China, but just where are the figures for domestically produced PM2, for example? I see dozens of trucks belching smoke every day. And what are the independently-verified figures for NOX and sulphur and more exotic pollutants such as PCBs and dioxin from plastic and other trash burning and paper bleaching? Even airborne mercury from burning the dead has been mentioned in the past as problems. And you could hardly claim nuclear power as a net gain when some places have been rendered uninhabitable.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

...ironic an article now about how China can copy Japan when just yesterday there was an article discussing how Japan lags behind in issues regarding climate change,

If you read the article you would have seen that the issue is Japan building more coal fired power plants as a way to reduce dependence on nuclear power after Fukushima. People simply can't have it both ways.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

And a few article later we read in JT "Japan ranked among worst performing nations in tackling climate change"

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

That's the whole debate in all the climate change summits. Developed world accuses Developing Nations (India, China ) and developing world point fingers back to the developed economies (US, Japan, Europe). The developed economies have done their share of harm to the nature, back in 1800 - 1900, and developing economies are doing so now.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

To those complaining about the two Japan environment articles appearing together, one is about Japan in 2015, the other Japan in the 60's and 70's. Irony and contradiction levels are zero, they are about different subjects.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I can understand why China needs to learn from other countries which have cleaned up their pollution, but, come on, Japan is hardly squeaky clean, as moonraker says.

Several days a month, come rain or shine, in my place, the whole city smells of burnt garbage. From my home, all the way to my workplace, several miles away. On those days, I can't hang out any laundry. Even worse, at the workplace, when I leave my office, I smell the burnt garbage INSIDE the building. It's as if nobody else is aware of this horrible smell. I shudder to think what the dioxin levels are. At least, at my former residence, I only had to worry about my laundry stinking of the smell of my neighbour's grilled fish.

Does anyone else get this in their town?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Air here is much cleaner than New Jersey.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

China can learn from California law, too. If the WORLD had Japan's and California's smog laws, all the air would be cleaner. Why is it that jobs in other countries are more important than clean air and water? Simple, keep the populous calm. Anyone been to New Jersey or other states? Apparently not, otherwise the view would be clear.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

China can learn lessons from Japan's progress in cleaning up smog

Then we have this article

Japan ranked among worst performing nations in tackling climate change

I realized they are two different things but they do have a connection. Other countries CAN learn some smog reducing concepts from Japan, though I wouldn't recommend nuclear as being one of them. Trading smog for radioactive air, water and land isn't a really good trade off.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Air here is much cleaner than New Jersey.

Excuse me, but we do have clean air here. When you're over the bridge away from New York, the air feels fresher. I judge the air quality by how well you see the sky. If you can see the sun and the blue sky on most good days, you're good to go. (Not like Los Angeles' hazy sky.) We don't wear face masks over here. There are only a few times where the air quality may go down a little, and that's during the summer, but we rarely ever see something like smog.

I tend to relate NJ with Japan because both places have four seasons. I'm not sure about smog levels in Japan though. I always believe Japan has some of the cleanest air in Asia whenever I visit. I love looking up into the blue sky.

(Taiwan may not be so fortunate as its air quality has gone downhill thanks to China.) If only China had taken notice years ago of other clean air countries, yes, I'm sure China's air would be smog free by now. Perhaps, it's still not too late if acted now?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yubaru san. The reaction that you mentioned is in direct contrast to the reaction of millions of Chinese who are affected by pollution today.

This can be seen in the response to the jounalist Chai Jing's documentart "Under the Dome". People actually weeping in the audiance as she explains the effects of particulates on young children's developing lungs.

It was said to be viewed by hundreds of millions of young Chinese before the government reacted by virtually banning it. I highly recommend all to view it with English subs on yo#utube.

An insight into young educated China.

Gary

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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