Friday, 21 August 2015

Dead fish 死鱼

The disaster in Tianjin was of course, like so many others, a "disaster waiting to happen". Yes, a tragic cliché. I respond viscerally to incidents like this because as an infant I suffered permanent damage to my lungs living in Huddersfield, an industrial city in Northern England where the air used to be filled with fumes from the ICI sulphuric acid plant and many other polluting facilities. (ICI later moved to Scotland and has tried to move to Xiamen.) I then, unaware of its nickname, "The Smoke" or "The Big Smoke", moved to London, but moved out just before the big smog that killed thousands in just a few days.

And I remember Minamata Disease, Lucky Dragon III, Chernobyl, Bhopal and many more around the world. So it's not just China. But it is China now. The rest of us have learned something from these dreadful experiences. The London smog disaster was followed by the Clean Air Act that very quickly rendered "A Foggy Day in London Town" just a folk memory.