COVID19 has exposed another weakness, its buildings! Several buildings have INTERNAL path for infection of the buildings residents.
Since February 2020 COVID19 infection has been found to be spreading within buildings, to apartments on different floors of the same building. Frankly, it has reached epidemic proportions in the public housing sector, every CHP press conference implicates more and more buildings. tracking sick building link http://www.kelcroft.com.hk/sbs.htm
The pollution of the environment continues, microplastics have been found in the ocean, in the fish we eat, in our cities we live, in the mountains, in the air we breathe, and at the end of 2020 the latest discovery with microplastic in the placenta of humans. The sample size is tiny, but it is positive evidence, here is the link to the study:
The BBC Newsround programme https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/51451737 conducted a survey of 16 year olds was an eye opener, the survey found 4 out of 5 were concerned with climate change issues (see graphic below), 1 in 5 reported bad dreams, and critically, they don’t trust their parents handling environmental issues.
Interestingly, it reminds me of the SCMP survey in Hong Kong, 82% of respondents don’t believe corporate sustainability slogans (i.e. greenwashing). We should not be surprized, the Hong Kong carbon repository (https://www.carbon-footprint.hk/) only has data reported for about 80 out of 2,300 listed companies, fewer still have an updated entry (accessed 29-11-2020). So why are listed companies shy and hiding their GHG emissions?
I made a big mistake, on 5-Nov. 2020 HP send notice for upgrading the HP software on my HP ProBook 440 G7 laptop. I hesitated, then relented, and hit install all in HP software dialog. This is not a windows 10 upgrade its HP own upgrade.
Now my machine is useless, it takes nearly an hour to start, I can’t see any online fix. just to add icing on the cake, the HP software that actually manages updating, well that does not run anymore either. It is complete joke.
Every day we bombarded with images of government leaders and C suite executives swanning around the globe attending events, conferences, summits, Davos, and the like, demonstrating that the idea of trying to lower carbon emissions is just an idea for the great unwashed, they must have a shelf granted exemption right?
Sustainability strategists happily jet setting across the planet to tackle climate change, is not their problem, it is our problem, the masses need to saving the planet.
Look at this great piece on QZ.com (link) tracking helicopter flights into and out of Davos during the world economic forum.
While surveys indicate people want to act or are willing to act more sustainability, the man on the street is busying learning visually.
When the boss leaves the lights on, he is signaling to everyone else, it is perfectly fine to leave the lights on and waste energy, for the masses it is easier to follow the norm rather than try to break the rule. If you ask why, people are unaware, they follow their intuition but given time some rational explanations emerge.
I see it every day, you probably see it too, more and more examples, of government officials and C suite executives chauffeured and helicoptered around Davos at great environmental cost.
We see groups and leaders ignoring sustainability choosing single-use plastic water bottles at “Green” conferences, people will say they want to act sustainably but don’t, they don’t because we can all see the real message and we learn from the C suite world examples.
Don’t listen to what people say, watch what they do
The Khaleej Times is covering the blaze of the 49 story Abbco Tower in Sharjah, UAE, it comprises 36 levels of residential accommodation and 20 levels of parking, the Khaleej Times newspaper reports. Here is the link:
On that webpage, video recorded during the night of fire shows burning debris showered on the streets below, a recognizable pattern of destruction. Thankfully, no fatalities reported.
Once again, the impossible has occurred, the building fire was not contained within one fire compartment, the whole tower was gutted in less than three (3) hours.
From the video limited coverage, it appears to be another combustible cladding fire, the video shows the initial fire spread with defined vertical progression, before expanding laterally fire capturing the floor. Check out this video:
It is a scary time in Hong Kong, covid19 has closed schools, so all the kids at home studying on Zoom, and an increasing number of people are also working at home to maintain social distancing. But the majority are living in high rise buildings, most without any sprinklers, many older buildings are just high rise death traps.
Government’s across the planet have amazing hindsight, AFTER a major disaster has occurred, after lives have been lost, then months of wrangling ensure to update the building codes or governing regulations, that price is too high in my view.
Well, it seems I have to wait, I have to wait for the news media to report a disastrous number of unnecessary deaths before Governmental hindsight kicks into action.
In the United Kingdom, you might have heard about the Grenfell Tower fire disaster, more than 70 people tragically died, and they had better fire doors than the door in photo recorded in April 2020.
How does this happen is a developed economy, it is a result of Hong Kong’s laissez-faire mantra, passing every possible responsibility to anyone except government, individuals, or private companies, with little, if any oversight.
For building fire safety that means the owner (or hired corporation) is wholly responsible for compliance with the regulations covering fire safety, since nobody checks residential buildings, there is no incentive to comply.
Passive fire safety measures (materials and fire escape routes) are governed by the HKSAR Development Bureau, and its subordinate Building Department (BD), essentially they cover the construction code and regulations, and they conduct site checks before allowing a new building to open.
Active fire safety measures (fire alarms, hose reels, sprinklers, etc) are governed by the HKSAR Security Bureau, and its subordinate Fire Services Department (FSD), essentially they cover code and regulations for the active systems, they conduct site checks before opening a new building, reporting the result to BD.
Why Residential Sprinklers
Fire sprinklers buy time, precious time. In the absence of any immediate occupants to raise the fire alarm, modern sprinklers when activated by fire automatically sound the fire alarm, but more importantly, they immediately put water on the fire.
That immediate water slows the progress allowing time for people to escape, it helps control the smoke and while the water is full, keeps putting water on the fire while the fire bridge are travelling to the site. Often a fire sprinkler system can prevent a fire from becoming a disaster while waiting for the firefighters to tackle the blaze.