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Vanity increasing air pollution

Updated: 2013-09-03 09:32
( China Daily)

It is not uncommon to see pedestrians in many Chinese cities wearing face masks to protect themselves from air pollution. This is a warning against the poisonous air quality we are exposed to in many cities.

Initially, I used to think that Chinese people were tolerant and took measures individually to protect themselves against health hazards such as polluted air. But now I have come to realize that the more Chinese pedestrians try to filter suspended particles in the air with the help of face masks, the less the motorists will try to improve the air quality. Pedestrians' tolerance seems like a free ticket for motorists to pollute the air.

In the wake of the oil crisis in Europe in the 1970s, people learnt to live without cars and motorcycles. Some European governments even banned the use of private cars on certain days of the week. The result: drastic improvement in air quality within days.

Although more people own cars in Europe today, fewer drive them routinely. Many of them use public transport to commute. But China is going in the opposite direction as an increasing number of people are driving vehicles to reach their workplaces and other destinations. And they are doing so not out of need, but to elevate their social status, which indeed is a pity.

Seneca, on China Daily forum

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