Canada is often praised for

By Bryan • canada, china, environment • 8 Nov 2005

Canada is often praised for the quality of its air. Yet every so often you hear someone complaining about atrocitious conditions in Vancouver, Toronto, and, oh yes, let’s not forget, Prince George. Next time you comment on air quality, ask yourself this question.

Did you literally choke on your air today?

I did.

I’ve been living in a developing country for some time now (although in a rather developed shell) and had been expecting this to happen sooner. Along with the odd and slightly curious atmospheric odours, the lungs sucked in the coal dust and vehicle smog with ease.

Not today. Opened the door, took in that first breath of morning air…*COUGH COUGH COUGH*….nasty, man.

Respiratory diseases are the leading cause of death in China. Scaring my parents.

But this is another classic example of environmental conditions and implications on a nations health.

P.R.C. Demographics as of 2000.

Age structure:
0-14 years: 25% (male 168,040,006; female 152,826,953)
15-64 years: 68% (male 439,736,737; female 413,454,673)
65 years and over: 7% (male 41,200,297; female 46,573,816) (2000 est.)

China health care mechanism for dealing with this massive cohort at this point is non-existent. Every day I take a bus past the Jiangsu People’s Hospital on Guangzhou Lu (near NNU), and each day I pass hordes of people in passing through what is obviously an overflowing medical facility.

The silver tide in China:

The population of the elderly (60 or older) in China is about 128 million or one in every ten people, the largest in the world. It is estimated that China could have some 400 million people over 60 years of age by 2050.

Demographic shift and it’s associated effects on health care services is obviously not isolated to one county. Canada, and other developed countries also have large boomer cohorts in waiting. Yet patients in developed many health problems are preventable. Eat right, exercise, keep a good attitude, add a little bit of luck and you should be alright. And if shit does happen…hey! You’ve got health care!

In China, if you don’t get pancaked by a car first, then the air you breath to live will most likely kill you (that along with the epic amounts of cigarettes consumed…grown by state-owned enterprises). The former being something that isn’t really a lifestyle choice.

Nanjing just upgraded a large percentage of their taxi and bus force, which will most likely have a lifespan of at least 20 years. It will be years before another substantial upgrade will occur. It is not just petroleum that could be saved had an investment been made in hybrids.

I hear much from many people about how China is facing, many, many problems. Yet I see hardly anything being done about it.

400 million people over 60 in 2050…in an country with air like this.

Oh, incoherent ramblings.

One wouldn’t guess as much, but there is a Chinese word for “Mackenzie”.

麦肯来 – mai4ken3lai2 (it sort of sounds something like “my kun lie”).

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2 Responses

  1. Alex B

    If there’s some sort of description for the Chinese word for “Mackenzie” (because foreign languages often have wonderful little sentences to go along with words, unlike English), it would probably go something like this:

    Mackenzie: the land where life sucks.

    You oughta invest in an oxygen tank and a face mask to wear around with ya! Hehehe. You’ll look like some of the Asians I see here!
    Alex B.

  2. Bryan

    There are oxygen bars in some of the bigger cities!

    Whenever I think of oxygen bars, images of the Milk Bar from Clockwork Orange keep appearing…

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