The Fog of Winter

When I was down on The Peninsula last week, there were mornings with a thick fog. It would burn-off by noon or so, revealing a resplendently blue sky.

Beijing has been blanketed by fog these last few mornings as well. However, unlike that which encompassed me last week, this fog doesn't leave. It is a constant presence which diffuses light and hampers vision.

I think it must also affects the mental state as well. At least, I seem to feel it. It is weighty and burdensome.

Comments:

Hence the nickname: Greyjing.

Posted by Sin-Yaw Wang on December 10, 2008 at 04:49 PM HKT #

sadly, not fog, but smog from China's coal-fired industries. because of the chemical content of this pollution it \*does\* affect your mental state.

Posted by thatguy on December 10, 2008 at 06:13 PM HKT #

Greyjing. I'll have to remember that. :)

thatguy, I'm well aware that it isn't just fog. I've written a lot about it, and also read the BBC web site during the Olympic Games :). This post was more about the feeling of it, not getting into the chemical content.

That said, it is far too simplistic to say this is caused by only China's coal-fired industries. Although they certainly to play a large part (I scoff whenever I hear the line "clean burning coal"), it is a more complex problem involving such things as local atmospheric conditions, wind, weather patters, and other type of pollutants (such as from the large amount of cars and three-stroke engines).

And, of course, the problem goes far beyond industry. Coal seems to be the de facto heating source here for people without centralized heat (which a fair amount of people). And, of the steam for heat is fired by coal. And, there's a lot centralized heat (steam) which is also generated by large coal-burning boilers. Again, these were the primary causes behind the London's Great Fog of 1952, which I mentioned in my post here:

http://blogs.sun.com/robsblog/entry/the_great_smog_of_1952

btw, the majority of food vendors I see have their portable ovens powered by coal. (This is in stark contrast to those I saw in Taipei which fueled by natural gas.)

Posted by Robert Sohigian on December 10, 2008 at 08:38 PM HKT #

Yeah, you're not imagining that weight on one's emotions. I'm feeling it too. I'm going to buy an air purifier for my house so I can at least have an oasis of clean air there.

Posted by Melanie Gao on December 11, 2008 at 05:39 AM HKT #

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