Every night, columns of hulking blue and red freight trucks invade China’s major cities with a reverberating roar of engines and dark clouds of diesel exhaust so thick it dims headlights. By daybreak in this sprawling metropolis in southeastern China, residents near thoroughfares who left their windows open overnight find their faces stiff with a dark layer of diesel soot.
After Mary Leung opens her tiny open-air shop along a major road soon after dawn, she must wipe the soot off her countertops and tables; the tiny yellow-and-olive bird that has kept her company from a bird cage is harder to clean. Trucks are the mules of this country’s spectacularly expanding economy – ubiquitous and essential, yet highly noxious. [Full Text]
[Image: Truck drivers waiting at the edge of Guangzhou for 9 p.m., when they can drive through the city. by Chang W. Lee from The New York Times.]