Tenwest Mandarin School


Civilized Kunming

Geezer (1893 posts) • +1

@Ishmael: China's anti-pollution laws were late in coming, rarely enforced, and pretty much ignored. As you object to flying and riding in autos, I will leave the impact of pollution on civilization to your imagination.

For a time, in the 1990’s, I participated in the recyclables market. I was contacted by a Chinese guy who wanted to import recyclables from the US. So, acting as in his agent, I arranged for five containers of clean, crushed and compacted aluminum cans to be sent to China.

At the time, shipping a container of goods from China to the US would cost about $3000 USD per container. In the US empty containers were stacking up in US harbors. Shipping from the US to China would cost about $200 USD, or less, for a container. You can get a lot of aluminum cans and a 40’ container so the cost per kilo to ship recyclables to China was pretty low.

Then I was contacted about plastics. I found a source of clean, sorted, shredded plastic and, acting as an agent for the buyer, had 10 containers to be shipped to China. The buyer was upset because he did not want clean, sorted, shredded plastic, he wanted basically just the plastic in any condition, any type, any color no restrictions, just full containers of plastic.

Shipping was by Cosco, the Chinese line in every deal.

When I was contacted by authorities in Los Angeles regarding cars stolen in LA being shipped to China, and then questioned about potential contamination, I decided the marginal income wasn't worth the potential problems and stopped doing the business.

Some have decried the 'dumping' this stuff in China and elsewhere. I understand that concern but I must point out that there must exist a demand for trash or it doesn't move. I found American Capitalists were in the recycling business but Chinese buyers were demanding lower quality and insisted on paying less. Trash is cheaper.

dolphin (513 posts) • 0

janJal, I like all alternative modes of transport. Public is ok, but there can be bums, crazy people. Back home anyway.

I like bikes. Now cargo ebikes can carry heavy loads, but it gets damn cold here. Scooters, rollerblades are cool. Wouldn’t mind a Vespa. But again, cold. And there has

to be dedicated Lanes. I don’t want to risk my life in the same lane as cars.

Urban developers are a bunch of morons trapped in the dark ages. Right now. Roads are only there to accommodate cars.

A 2 ton metal box to haul 6 billion fat asses around is not feasible.

Ishmael (463 posts) • 0

@Geezer: totally agree with your first sentence in your post above. Is this changing with the current 'civilized Kunming' campaign? I hope so.
@dolphin: Totally agree with your statements about cars above - they make more intelligent ways to travel dangerous or slow, at least in the city (Kunming) - as well as in many others, of course.

l4dybug (65 posts) • -1

All in all, I admire JanJal's minimal carbon footprint lifestyle and daily devotion to recycling/waste sorting.

Seriously speaking. Despite back n' forth debates, on behalf of humanity and all wildlife, we are truly grateful.

I also need to start sorting organic from inorganic wastes, and not because potential regulators tell me to. As Obama and other wise men have once said, to change the world, it starts at home [to paraphrase].

That said. I'm somewhat shocked you can be so conscientious in recycling, yet nonchalantly shrug off the omnipresence of microplastic threat to our collective health.

The following scenarios play out in my head:

Wife: Honeybunny, purple plastic ooze is leaking out from your ears and nose!

JanJal: Don't worry dear, I'll just poop it out later. First I need to buy some fresh bread from JustHot. Be back in a jiffy.

Child: Papa, why are little thingy floating in my bottled water?

JanJal: Daddy is busy composting in the garden!

Mother-in-law [residing outside Kunming]: They building trash incinerator in our neighborhood!

JanJal: Just harmless heavy metals and carcinogenic dioxins mama.[grins to self]

It goes without saying more long-term studies need to be funded in this relatively new area of research, but recent health findings are grim.

Until cancer links and reports are more substantial for mainstream to digest, governments won't heed to social pressure of revamping entire industries, such as but not limited to the synthetic textiles which ignorantly proliferate microplastics into oceans en route to our gut.

To Geezer's point, invisible hand capitalism might move markets, but may not be enough to protect our global health & environment.

Considering one in four perish from cancer, perhaps the world needs to take into account invisible pollutants in our environment more seriously.

Our problems may not just be decomposed byproducts culminating at the river's mouth....but the way we use raw materials at the river's source. This includes the breeding of antibiotic resistant superbugs in pharmaceuticals and livestock industries, not just downstream wastewater.

JanJal (934 posts) • 0

@l4dybug : "yet nonchalantly shrug off the omnipresence of microplastic threat to our collective health"

Again I remind that my point about incinerating vs. not incinerating was limited to organic waste.

And did you note that while I presented arguments in favour of incineration, I still concluded by stating that I would rather not incinerate organic waste?

If you choose to not incinerate it, then all the contained residues of pollutants will directly return to environment. Incineration would remove at least some of that.

I don't shrug off the threat of microplastics. I shrug off our limited ability to do anything about that, for the time being anyway. It's there, and we can't remove it.

Only thing you or I can do, is recycle our plastic waste, (TIC) hope that it gets reused instead of having to produce more plastic, and try to use alternative

materials in our own daily life.

michael2015 (630 posts) • -2

Remember when fast food chains used to use paper straws? Then the environmentalists campaigned and they all switched to plastic - to save the trees. Now we're back to using paper straws again because it's environmentally friendlier?

dolphin (513 posts) • -1

because straws are a simulation of breast-feeding. ask freud if you don't believe me.

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