Stick A Dome On It

3 Feb

Couple Wearing Cute MasksHaving a skyline one can taste, or living in a city where no one can distinguish the smoke from a burning building and human-generated smog, is bad enough. Spending ridiculous amounts of money to sidestep the issue of overuse of coal due to industrialization is so very western.

The biggest ticket item is a huge dome that looks like a cross between the Biosphere and an overgrown wedding tent. Two of them recently went up at the International School of Beijing, one with six tennis courts, another large enough to harbor kids playing soccer and badminton and shooting hoops simultaneously Friday afternoon.

The contraptions are held up with pressure from the system pumping in fresh air. Your ears pop when you go in through one of three revolving doors that maintain a tight air lock.

The anti-pollution dome is the joint creation of a Shenzhen-based manufacturer of outdoor enclosures and a California company, Valencia-based UVDI, that makes air filtration and disinfection systems for hospitals, schools, museums and airports, including the new international terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

Although the technologies aren’t new, this is the first time they’ve been put together specifically to keep out pollution, the manufacturers say.

“So far there is no better way to solve the pollution problem,” said Xiao Long, the head of the Shenzhen company, Broadwell Technologies.

On a recent day when the fine particulate matter in the air reached 650 micrograms per cubic meter, well into the hazardous range, the measurement inside was 25. Before the dome, the international school, like many others, had to suspend outdoor activities on high pollution days. By U.S. standards, readings below 50 are considered “good” and those below 100 are considered “moderate.”

Since air pollution skyrocketed in mid-January, Xiao said, orders for domes were pouring in from schools, government sports facilities and wealthy individuals who want them in their backyards. He said domes measuring more than 54,000 square feet each cost more than $1 million.

And now, the government has dumped the problem into the average household’s lap, to the point where companies are trying to profit from masks, and other means to limit and clean up their consumption habits. How many generations will it take before the average Chinese person is in debt. I think the Chinese have learned enough from westerners.

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