Today I accompanied two volunteers, who actively work with Green Camel Bell, a local environmental protection NGO. Lanzhou is not only one of the most polluted cities in China, it ranked bottom in the World Health Organization’s study as one of the most air polluted cities in the world. The idea of environmentalism is still relatively knew in China, as many people only focus on building industry and turn a blind eye to the destruction being done to our earth.
We went to the outskirt of Lanzhou to a “rubbish place,” or rather, a dump. Here, trash is not being properly disposed of, simply being poured into a gigantic hole. As more and more trash has been dumped here, the increase in methane became so rapid to the point that trash has been repeatedly self-igniting. These volunteers previously worked with this area, bringing journalists out and having a story published, causing the local government to act. However, the local government’s solution was only temporary, pour water onto the fires.
Moving forward to continue efforts to resolve this problem, today’s focus was on taking air quality measurements, counting the number of recent self-ignited fires, and using some good ol’ photography to hopefully put together yet another story.
Though it seems few people in China seem to truly care about these devastating effects, as one volunteer said, “I care, and he cares, and you care, and that’s something.”