Air quality in Beijing was the worst ever measured on Earth

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Air quality in China's capital on the weekend of January 11/12, 2013 was at levels judged hazardous to health and the worst ever measured on Earth. Authorities fear environmental concerns could spark social instability. The pollution was, in fact, about forty, that is four-zero, or in  figures 40, times more than the limits set by The World Health Organization.

Now, allow those headline to sink in for a moment.

Pictures from Beijing from that weekend show that it was almost impossible to see further than a few yards ahead in the streets. This was a smog worse than any London “fog” of the old days has ever been and, in fact, it is becoming a more or less regular occurrence in Beijing and other Chinese cities.

Yes, you can buy or make items in China for super cheap, but one reason for that is because their environmental standards are nowhere near sustainable levels. They are the epitome of "the more we make, the more we take" attitude and this is why it cannot be stressed enough how important it is to reuse what's already here first. It's one small step that we can make. If you need something, look for a pre-owned version first. Seriously, eBay has everything.

Aside from that there are so many other ways in which we can reduce the need to buy new. Reuse is one of the best ways to go about it.

You do not have to buy a set of glass storage jars, even if they are made from recycled glass. All you have to do is to reuse those jars in which you purchase produce from the stores.

Do you really have to go out and buy a “recycled steel” pencil bin, which also more often than not is “Made in China”. I am sure you have enough tin cans that you can – pardon the pun – repurpose for the same purpose without having to spend one single cent on it.

But, I need a new PC, a new cellphone... Really? If MS Windows no longer wants to work on your PC because it may no longer have the right speed or whatever then there is a much better alternative (not just to buying new) and that is to change the operating system to a Linux based one.

And why do you need a new cellphone? Because the new ones have more bells and whistles. It's a phone and as long as your current one can make calls and works well don't change it.

It is time that we all started to refuse to buy new as much as possible. It is not always easy as there will be things you have to buy new every now and then and then, more often than not, locally made products or products made in the country are not obtainable as everything is “Made in China” but let those purchases be few and far between.

If we want there to be a decent place for our children and grandchildren to live, we need to change the way we consume.

© 2013