For context, I work at a public school in Kaohsiung. The air quality has been unacceptably bad the past 2-3 months(years/decades probably?) and I don’t know how to process how the local teachers and administrators seem to ignore it completely.
Every classroom has large commercial grade air purifiers (ironically donated by one of the companies who causes a lot of the pollution).
Almost NONE of the teachers in the school choose to actually use them.
I walk by the classrooms and all of the windows and doors are open, the air purifiers are not turned on. Or, even dumber, all the windows and doors are open and the air purifier is turned on, showing an insanely high readout of PM 2.5. And they still choose to leave all the windows open.
Today, for example, the AQI is 150+ here. Red-level dangerous. Nobody seems to know/care. Kids are doing P.E. class outside, running around the track. There was a 35 minute school assembly this morning outside.
Since I occasionally have to go to the students’ homeroom classrooms to teach classes, I see this every day. The air purifier sits in the back of the classroom not being used, or, like today again, it shows PM 2.5 levels of 90+. Fucking 90. Why are all the windows open? I would think elementary school teachers in particular would care about the fact that PM 2.5 is especially dangerous for children, and want to avoid exposing them to it as much as possible.
Luckily most of the time I have a set classroom that I share with the local English teacher. Every day for the past 3 months when I come in the classroom and see that she has all the windows and doors open, and is not using the air purifier, I immediately close all windows/doors and turn the air purifier on. It baffles her that I do this. So I showed her the PM2.5 readout on the air purifier (she didn’t know what that number meant or even what PM2.5 is), told her what range is considered to be a healthy range, even showed her a few articles talking about PM2.5 and its dangers. She seemed to get it.
Still, every day without fail when I come in it’s the same thing. Windows/doors open, no air purifier. It’s like the process “Come in classroom – open all windows and doors” is just ingrained in her.
When I ask her why she says “Because all the other teachers have their windows/doors open so I need to too.” or “I’m not used to using the air purifier” (it’s not like it’s hard you just turn it on and let it work). Or my personal favorite, “還好吧， 我們還很年輕” (it’s ok we’re still young)
So at this point I just really don’t know how to perceive their lack of caring. Is it just really that they don’t care? Willful ignorance because most of them are from Kaohsiung and will never leave Kaohsiung?
There are a lot of cultural differences and things that I just kind of go along with here and don’t try to/want to change how the local teachers do things. But this one just drives me crazy and I can’t wrap my head around it.
That’s my rant. Thoughts on this? Your experience trying to talk to locals about the pollution?
Air quality is dangerous. Local teachers don’t care. Don’t use provided air purifiers. Refuse to close windows. Let kids play outside in red-level air. Why?