Friday, January 25, 2008

From Worst to First?

I just got back from a wonderful trip to Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. We saw and experienced any number of amazing things, not to mention food that just seemed to get better and better.

One of the more amazing things was to experience the traffic in Saigon now known as Ho Chi Min city. The attached video with thanks to YouTube tells the story better than I could ever put it into words.

As you might imagine, the pollution that results from the literally millions of 90cc motorbikes is beyond belief as well as the fact that somehow they don't kill too many people a day, at least in town. They also have recently mandated that helmets are mandatory, so that will help some as well.

The point of all this other than amusement for this American tourist? In 2001 I was in Bankok, a city of similar size to Ho Chi Min city. Had I a video camera with me, I can assure you it would have looked very much like what you see here, pollution included. Everyone wore masks.

Stopping there on the way home on this trip, I was very much struck by the fact that the number of motorbikes appeared to have been reduced by what I would estimate to be 85% maybe more and the pollution along with it.

I never would have thought it could be done, but somehow the Thai government got it done.

There may be some hope yet.

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