In the Chinese province of Sichuan, government officials have unveiled “the criminal culprit” responsible for increasingly severe air pollution in the area: bacon. Smoked pork is a key component in of Sichuan cuisine, but local residents have been banned from home-smoking pork this year as smog worsens in the region. Those who decide to stick with the traditional cooking method will face a fine equivalent to $800.
Located in the northwest corner of Sichuan province, the city of Dazhou has seen unusually high levels of air pollution this month, and it has everyone in a bacon-induced tizzy. The city’s own environmental protection bureau determined that the home-smoking of bacon by local residents is to blame for the pollution, according to a report by the state-run China News Agency. It’s unknown what methods the bureau used to arrive at this conclusion.
Residents of the region have smoked pork during the winter for centuries, both as a means of preserving meat for the winter and in preparation for celebrating the lunar New Year, which falls on February 19 this year.. Pork and chicken are smoked over smoldering firewood, which sends ash into the air. So, it’s logical to think that this style of cooking would have some impact on the environment.
Critics of the ban, however, argue that the government is using smoked pork as a scapegoat for the pollution to avoid going after the real source. This isn’t even the first time that barbecuing has been banned in relation to air pollution. It’s unclear at this time what that source actually is, but the Bayu Public Welfare Development Center, a non-government environmental protection organization, conducted a recent survey that found bacon smoking had only a minimal impact on air pollution. Many speculate that the smog actually comes from coal-burning industries and chemical plants. The Chinese government doesn’t exactly have a reputation for being tough on those companies.
via USA Today