If we do not permit the earth to produce beauty and joy, it will in the end not produce food, either. Joseph Wood Krutch
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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Imported from China

In nearly every major port along the Pacific Coast you will find a container terminal.  Each day huge container ships dock at these terminals and twenty-four hours per day computerized cranes rapidly offload an average of 71,000 containers of goods, most from China.  This flow of goods is regulated by the government, mostly, but there is another import from China slipping past our borders which has become impossible to regulate and it is making people sick.  I'm talking about dust.

China is rapidly becoming a desert. Each year 950 square miles of China's heartland is converting from fertile farmland to desert.  This is due to overgrazing of cattle, deforestation through clear cutting, urban sprawl as factory cities are built practically overnight  and drought.  The sand has become so pervasive in some areas of China entire villages have disappeared beneath the sand.  And now this sand is being exported to the world.  Here are a few links: 

China's Dust Storms Raise Fears of Impending Catastrophe

China Dust Storm

The Pacific Dust Express

China Losing War With Advancing Deserts

There is another side to this coin as well. Many of the electronic products purchased from China and used here in the U.S. are soon discarded.  If it is recycled, many times it ends up right back in China to be "recycled" in open-air dumps. The toxins and heavy metals become mixed with the soil, which then becomes dust and is then exported as toxic dust as the winds carry it back to the U.S. I could fill up pages of this blog with links on this problem but simply Google "China Toxic Dust" for one-million two-hundred-ten thousand links on the subject.

1 comment:

Cindy said...

I recently toured a local, environmentally responsible e-cycling center called GreenCitizen and learned about the toxic issues of electronic waste. Never realized that much of the "recycled" items end up in landfills of developing nations because there's no accountability in the process. Now, I rather pay to drop off my electronics to ensure accountability than wonder if my old CRT is sitting in a landfill in china somewhere.