China may have doomed some to an icy cold winter after putting forth laws banning the burning of coal in an effort to reduce the country’s air pollution.
China isn’t playing around when it comes to discouraging this practice given their frank and frightening new slogan that says, “If you burn coal, see you in the detention center.” According to Shanghaiist, the slogan isn’t all talk either as authorities have already detained some construction workers in the past for burning coal outdoors.
For some, burning coal has been necessary to stay warm in China, especially during the frigid winter season. While Chinese officials have pushed for natural gas to become the primary heating alternative, others believed it was impractical given its high price compared to coal.
A Weibo user claimed that using natural gas to heat up his house cost him 85 yuan ($12.85) a day. Gas consumption expense for the entirety of winter amounted to roughly 10,000 yuan ($1,500) while a month’s worth of coal only had a total of 800 yuan ($120).
The increase in demand also led to a shortage in gas, prompting the Heibei Development and Reform Commission to limit its usage on November 28. Residences, schools and hospitals were given the utmost priority when it comes to gas consumption.
However, the lack of supply still proved difficult as some classes had to be held outdoors due to the lack of means to provide schools indoor warming. Baoding’s Affiliated Hospital of Heibei University required 20,000 cubic meters of gas but their supply had to be cut down to just 2,729 cubic meters.
The scarcity and high value of gas could very much lead millions of homeless in China to end up freezing to death. Some netizens even said in jest that this could be China’s means of killing-off the impoverished.
Earlier this year, a heating company worker became the first person to taste China’s extreme efforts and was arrested courtesy of the country’s notorious “smog squad.” Previous reports even noted that 70% of companies in China are responsible for causing the infamous air pollution. Although China might already be seeing the fruits of their labor given that India is surpassing them as the most air polluted country in the world.