China has some of the worst pollution in the world. According to independent research group, Berkeley Earth, 4,000 people a day die in China because of air pollution. That’s about 17% of all deaths. Not including having your organs harvested.
Doesn’t help that China has a smoking problem either.
But the worst kind of pollution is this: PM 2.5 particles – tiny little particles smaller than even individual particles of pollen. And you thought allergies were bad. These PM 2.5 particles are mainly coming from coal. China burns almost as much coal as the rest of the world combined. Yeah, even more than Uncle Nicky’s Coal emporium and Fun House.
So what’s being done to solve the problem? Well, there are a lot of…um, brilliant…ideas. And here are 10 of my favorites.
Number 10: Banning Stuff
Sure, the deadly air pollution caused by unregulated factories and unrestrained coal burning is bad. But factories and coal plants make money! So the government banned outdoor barbecuing instead. That was back in 2013. And obviously it didn’t work. But if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!
Number 9: Vacuum It Up
A Dutch artist has worked with China to design this: the Smog Free Tower.
It’s essentially a giant vacuum that sucks in pollution and turns it into jewelry!
Here, honey, I got you this ring made of smog to symbolize how I feel about you.
Number 8: A Drone Will Work, Right?
I know what I want in one of the most repressive societies on the planet—drones everywhere!
China to test new smog-busting drone to help clear polluted skies; circling in the air, spraying chemicals that will freeze pollution and allow it to fall gently to the ground… and onto the faces of an unsuspecting populace. Brilliant.
Number 7: Let’s Try Shutting Down More Things
Cars and factories are some of the biggest sources of pollution. But getting rid of them would be way too heavy-handed. Except when you want to look good internationally! Like during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Or the military parade in 2015. Or this year’s G20 Summit.
But once the spotlight is off, things can get back to normal. It’s like how you really only clean the house before you have guests over.
Number 6: Cover It Up!
Former CCTV anchor Chai Jing was inspired to make a documentary about pollution after her daughter was born with a tumor. The documentary went viral.
A week later, authorities solved the problem. No not by cleaning up the pollution. By banning her documentary. And the 200 million Chinese citizens who had already watched it by then surely forgot what they’d seen. Problem solved!
Number 5: No, Literally, Cover It Up.
When the world’s on your case for spewing out so much pollution that it even reaches the United States, whaddya gonna do?
Stuff cotton balls into your air monitoring equipment. Because then, how will anyone know there’s pollution? Besides their eyes, that is.
Number 4: Turn On the Sprinklers
No, not just any sprinklers. Giant, giant ones! Put them on top of skyscrapers. It’s like how you’d spray water on a baseball diamond to keep the dust down. This idea comes from Shaocai Yu, a geoengineering researcher from Zhejiang and North Carolina State universities.
Wow, his Photoshopping is even worst than Chinese officials’!
Number 3: Conversion— It’s Not Just for Infidels Anymore!
If coal is the problem, then converting it to natural gas must be the solution! Natural gas burns cleaner with less emissions. Wow, do we have an actual idea here? Well, before you get too excited, there are a few problems. One, even though it won’t produce the same kind of air pollution as coal, natural gas can “release 36-108% more greenhouse gases than coal.”
It also takes loads of water to convert. So where should we build these? Obviously in Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia, where there’s almost no more water left. But you know, that was almost a real idea. Maybe the next one will be as well.
Number 2: Space Lasers (Nope)
To reduce its reliance on dirty coal power, China has drawn up plans to build a gigantic solar-powered spacecraft. It would convert solar energy into microwave energy that would then be shot down to the Earth like a giant laser beam, and then converted to electricity. What could go wrong with giant space lasers?
Number 1: Change Your Thinking
Why all this negative talk about pollution? You can’t solve it. So change your perspective! Party mouthpiece CCTV did. In an article that’s now been removed from the Internet, a CCTV editor argued that pollution has many benefits.
Didn’t stop there. My favorite state-run media Global Times pointed out that smog even has practical military applications. I mean, your enemy can’t blow you up if they can’t see you.
Well, those were all pretty crazy. Annnnddd that just scratches the surface. I didn’t even have time to get to the giant floating jellyfish. That one will have to wait for next week, when I release Part 2: More Insane Solutions to China’s Deadly Pollution.
So what do you think of these? And what’s your guess about the jellyfish? Leave your comments below.