I do not remember seeing so many smoke stacks in the downtown of a city anywhere else. Looking out from my hotel window in the business district of Lanzhou one morning, smoke was bellowing every direction I look.
Later I learned that at least some of the smoke was produced by boilers for heating, just like what they do at the Jubilee School in Chankou. Considering that most of the heating is produced by burning coal, and coal burning is the largest world-wide source of carbon-dioxide emissions, ... Added to that sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, ... no wonder the air in Lanzhou is bad.
China is modernizing extremely rapidly. In one generation its has made up a lot of lost time. It can be argued that the Chinese people is living better now than at any other time in the past hundred years, if not more.
But the damage to the environment is also enormous, and the consequences are becoming more and more difficult to ignore. It is sincerely hoped that the leaders have the wisdom to derive a more balanced plan for development.