It’s no secret that I’m concerned about the increasing use of drones (except those that deliver beer) for military and/or surveillance purposes. It’s even less of a secret that I’m sickened by spying, especially from within our own government. So I’m surprised to be writing a story in which I support China’s use of drones to spy on polluters, but here I am. Damn you, science, you’ve done it again!
Pollution in China’s major cities is a big problem — such a big problem that Beijing is developing a nuclear plant (fueled with thorium, not uranium) to try and find alternate fuel sources. Pollution is such a big problem that travel agencies offer “haze travel insurance” for travelers whose flights are canceled due to pollution or who spend two or more days in Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’ian, or other big, smoggy cities. The air pollution index has to read over a certain number in each city. In February, Shanghai’s air pollution index topped 100 on 17 days (0-50 is considered good, 51-100 moderate, and 101-200 unhealthy. Anything over 300 is considered hazardous).