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Harbin Water Pollution


venture160
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well I had an oppurtinity to go to Beijing and I left Harbin. Yea, I could stay there, but every time i saw or touched water I would start thinking of whether or not its really safe. Harbin could simply not shut the water off for any longer than they did, and WenJiaBao, the prime minister told harbin on public television that the water will go back on. With that kind of promise, whether or not the water is still polluted, they had to turn the water back on. I personally have little trust in the Chinese government to release accurate information, and even in most western countries this would be a difficult situation to manage because you don't want millions of people panicking. For Chinese people, moving to another city is simply out of the question,they do not have the kind of geographic and social mobility that we westerners have. If you are worried about finishing your semester there are plenty of schools in Beijing that will take you in, and for the same cheap price. Ultimately its up to you, but I know alot of people have already left, it might be a smart idea.

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You should be safe drinking bottled water, no? Issues would probably be more that you couldn't safely eat out since restaurants don't cook with bottled water. How else are you likely to come into contact with pollutants?

I'd stay if you like Harbin. As long as you can keep yourself physically safe and don't mind the discomforts, there are advantages to being in a learning environment other foreigners are fleeing. Your class sizes will be significantly smaller, and you'll get more one-on-one attention.

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I am not a chemist,or a physician, but a fact person. I would try and clarify in two directions: How high are concentrations of the chemicals in water? What would be the levels allowed in the West? How do they compare? As you will probably not find an satisfactory answer in this direction, you may as well consider clarifying in this directíon: Even if there were higher concentrations in the water currently, would Benzene and similar products also be able to harm you by taking a shower with contaminated water? If so, leave, if not cook for yourself until the spring and enjoy the quiet campuses! Good luck!

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I think the biggest risk is not knowing how high the levels are, and even more important, the fact that we will never know, that kind of information will never be released by the government. For me that was the dealbreaker to leave Harbin. There is simply no way of accurately knowing what the levels are like when your only source of information is the Chinese government. So there could be no pollution in the water or it could be supercontaminated. You have to ask yourself if you can live your life in Harbin with that kind of discomfort.

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Come to think of it, I wouldn't be too confident of the water quality in any city in China. At least in Harbin there's currently some focus on the issue. I reckon the officials will be playing it safe while the spotlight is on, but you need to make your own call on that.

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