What its like waking up to Air Pollution everyday….

The first day I set foot on sunny Florida the first thing I did was take a deep breath of the fresh air! It was rejuvenating, fresh and packed in with a punch too. Does sound like I am some creepy addict that loves air or something but it is something I feel people here in the states might take granted for. The air here in the states keeps me awake everyday, I don’t have to worry about having to blow my nose or sneeze every morning. I feel healthier.

Coming from Hong Kong, it has a large commerce and trade business.  There are tons of docks and drop off areas for large ships and diesel fueled trucks to come in and out of the city. Many of the of the diesel commercial trucks emit harmful pollutants that contribute to the air pollution everyday. The working factories across the border to China also emit pollutants every day and night just to keep business running. Most of it gets blown towards the Hong Kong and we hardly get a day of a clear blue sky. Everyday is a grey smoggy day. It does surprise me that I breathed in that sort of air for 19 years of my life and somehow I thought I felt pretty alright. But how is it beneficial for me and the Hong Kong community when we have to breathe this in for the rest of our lives? When I wake up I cant even see the building across the harbor. Its only visible on very rare occasions and how I would love to see whats on the other side everyday. When it is clear it is a blessing. You just want to soak it all up in a day and hopefully this day would return in the next few weeks. (usually happens on a public holiday since businesses don’t operate…)

Every morning no matter what season it is, I sneeze for at least most parts of the morning. My nose gets really itchy and I feel groggily every morning. On certain days my eyes itch and water up. For the longest that I felt like I had allergy issue but when I came here to Florida all these symptoms were gone. I really love spending time under the sun, it really wakes me up. But having to deal with smog whilst going to school, it really doesn’t make the mornings any better.It felt like I had a cold every morning, it sucks the life force out of you. My energy is spent during the mornings sneezing and then later on during the day I feel exhausted. There were days where I sneezed and blew my nose, there was soot in my mucus. Even you can feel the polluted air on your skin plus the humidity in Hong Kong doesn’t make it any better.

The Hong Kong government is trying their best to hope for ‘Blue Sky’ days, less pollutants and more blue sky. But it really has improved over the last years. The difficult thing is trying to control the output of pollutants of many factors that contribute to this issue. There are many truck drivers and large factory owners that may not be willing to sacrifice the time and resources to do so. It is starting to impact the industry and economic talent too. There are other campaigns where they encourage taxi drivers to turn off their engines to lower emission and encouraging people to take the public transport more. I feel this issue will improve but not be completely resolved due to the complications of the matter. But I hope that when I go home I can feel as rejuvenated as I felt here in the states.

Here is a short article about the recent plans the government is trying to impose to improve this situation:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21038495

 

Susan Yung

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3 thoughts on “What its like waking up to Air Pollution everyday….

  1. Wow, I never realized it was THAT bad. Its crazy to hear that you woke up everyday feeling like you had a cold- its hard to imagine people living like that. But its our fault ultimately. I mean our generation didn’t cause it- but you/ we are the ones suffering. Glad to hear the Sunshine State doesn’t make you sniffly : )

  2. I agree, I didn’t know that air pollution was that bad either!! It makes me really happy to have grown up in Northern Michigan where the air, I feel, is even better then the air here in Florida. To me and my roommate who is also from my home town in Michigan, Florida seems like farts, all the time. All the sulfur gets to us, but that still isn’t bad compared to where you come from! I hope Hong Kong clears up! We all deserve to have blue skies!

  3. Rummage made a really salient point in a recent class. It was essentially “What is ‘fresh air’ really? Is the air outside fresh just because it’s outside?”

    Of course the answer is no. But walking outside, you feel the wind and see the trees. The air has to be clean. Even when there’s asphalt roads and cement walkways sprawling in and around campus? Even when we’re surrounded by busy roads and busy cars?

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