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it was worse in the past. air quality was better in beijing in 2003 than it was in 1997, and a friend living there now assures me that, while utterly toxic, it seems better to him than when we were there in 2003. it took me a couple weeks to hack out the shanghai air last summer, after a  month there.

i remember being in xi'an in 97, and having trouble seeing across a major intersection. of course, seoul was similarly opaque back then, and apparently it has much improved since. so there's still some hope for chinese air one day becoming breatheable.

the fact that 1/2 the water is unfit for drinking, and a quarter unfit for industrial use, is a bit more unsettling.

by wu ming on Sat Jul 31st, 2010 at 08:57:02 AM EST

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