Tuesday, December 3, 2019

The Desolation Of Smaug

AQI stands for Air Quality IndexI’ve spoken about it before in my posts while I was in China (link through to your post). In basic terms, it measures how polluted the air is where you are. This has been a very bad month in Dhaka however today went above and beyond bad. At 269 the air I am breathing right now is a mixed soup of toxins. I just checked Jasper Alberta Canada and the AQI there is 5.  Click here to search for where you are and see what you are breathing in.

I loved living in China. I loved everything about it, except the air quality in the winter. From November to March, the AQI in Xi'an was outlandish. One day it topped over 400. A few teachers I worked with told tales of when the AQI went over 800 and you could not see across the main road that we were on. It was disgusting, so I left. In hindsight, I wish I had stayed a few more years but so be it. Here I sit, reliving the nightmare in Dhaka.

I feel tired and I know it is the lack of oxygen. I do not venture too far at all, so I am apartment bound most of the day. I catch up on sleep, which is nice. Today I was dropped off at Gulashn 2 to pick up a few groceries. After the 20-minute walk home, my throat was sore, my chest was tight and I had a headache. This shit is a killer.

So where does that leave us as a species. It is not just China and India that are suffering. Here are a few lists to have a look at.
Wikipedia: The worlds most polluted cities
CBS News: Worlds ranked polluted cities, in pictures
Dhaka Newspaper: Dhaka reached Number 1

Now to take this to the absurd. In 2015, a Canadian startup, Vitality Air, had a novel idea. Bottle air from the Rocky Mountains and Banff and sell it to China. A bit of a gag gift. However, it exploded from a novelty to a thriving business.  Read this 2016 Mashable article. Think about it. We have allowed ourselves to be conned into drinking bottled water when the water from our tap is perfectly fine. Shit, Coca Cola even admitted that Dasani in the UK is nothing but tap water. People still kept buying it.

Remember when bottled water first came to market. Sure, there were large water coolers in office buildings but in shops for individual use. We laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed. Well let's see who is laughing when you pay $30 for 200 breaths of fresh bottled air in the near future. The new con is coming.

So here I sit. One week away from heading to Sri Lanka and prepping for the student assessments for Term 2. I left China, a country I really liked, because of the air quality. I cannot see me taking on a second contract here. Bangladesh is no China.

Smaug Lives!

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