When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

blog

Exposed: China's School Tracks Made Of Toxic Tire Scraps

On your mark...what a clean track looks like
On your mark...what a clean track looks like

BEIJING — Recycling used materials is great. School athletics, too! But in China this week, we see where the two activities should never cross paths.

The Tuesday night edition of Economic 30 Minutes, a program of CCTV, the Chinese state television broadcaster, exposed the shady story of China's plastic school tracks and sports fields made of "black beads," a mixture of granules fabricated from scrap tires and other types of industrial chemical waste.

Over the past two years, there have been various news reports about children at certain schools suffering symptoms such as dizziness, nose bleeding, skin allergy, with the cases increasingly linked to participation on plastic school tracks or sports fields, according to the Beijing weekly Economic Observer.

Originally these plastic tracks were touted for their excellence in shock-absorption for the bodies of school athletes. But outrage is now spreading after CCTV's unannounced visit to the so-called "black beads" factory revealed that the material typically used to fabricate plastic tracks is composed of not only discarded tires, but is also crushed together with various types of rubber from undetermined sources, according to Caixin media.

Particularly when exposed to the heat of the sun, these sports tracks release toxic gases causing all sorts of discomfort to pupils. The Economic Observer reported that the crux of the problem lies in the fact that although there exist safe plastic runways with good materials, most Chinese schools go for low-end, low-cost products. Up until now China has failed to specify vigorous regulations for project acceptance, including detection of toxic substances such as formaldehyde, benzene or xylene.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

Ideas

Joshimath, The Sinking Indian City Has Also Become A Hotbed Of Government Censorship

The Indian authorities' decision to hide factual reports on the land subsidence in Joshimath only furthers a sense of paranoia.

Photo of people standing next to a cracked road in Joshimath, India

Cracked road in Joshimath

@IndianCongressO via Twitter
Rohan Banerjee*

MUMBAI — Midway through the movie Don’t Look Up (2021), the outspoken PhD candidate Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence) is bundled into a car, a bag over her head. The White House, we are told, wants her “off the grid”. She is taken to a warehouse – the sort of place where CIA and FBI agents seem to spend an inordinate amount of time in Hollywood movies – and charged with violating national security secrets.

The Hobson’s choice offered to her is to either face prosecution or suspend “all public media appearances and incendiary language relating to Comet Dibiasky”, an interstellar object on a collision course with earth. Exasperated, she acquiesces to the gag order.

Don’t Look Upis a satirical take on the collective apathy towards climate change; only, the slow burn of fossil fuel is replaced by the more imminent threat of a comet crashing into our planet. As a couple of scientists try to warn humanity about its potential extinction, they discover a media, an administration, and indeed, a society that is not just unwilling to face the truth but would even deny it.

This premise and the caricatured characters border on the farcical, with plot devices designed to produce absurd scenarios that would be inconceivable in the real world we inhabit. After all, would any government dealing with a natural disaster, issue an edict prohibiting researchers and scientists from talking about the event? Surely not. Right?

On January 11, the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), one of the centers of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), issued a preliminary report on the land subsidence issue occurring in Joshimath, the mountainside city in the Himalayas.

The word ‘subsidence’ entered the public lexicon at the turn of the year as disturbing images of cracked roads and tilted buildings began to emanate from Joshimath.

Keep reading...Show less

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

The latest