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The view from the toilet window of the university

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Offline glennie

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« on: September 24, 2009, 09:23 AM »
As I look out over Madrid, I become aware of a grey fug hanging over the city. There it is, sluggish and thick, fillled with the poisons responsible for many hundreds of death each year in our fair capital, soon to host (maybe) the Olympics. (The athletes better remember not to breathe deeply.)

Remarkably, it stops in a straight line, as if some draughtsman had taken a ruler and drawn a line across the sky.

Hideous.

Offline nick

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« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2009, 14:35 PM »
Is there a chemical beauty in this hideousness?
Nick
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Offline glennie

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« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2009, 14:57 PM »
Is there a chemical beauty in this hideousness?

Don't know. Would you be able to detect it if you were here?

(By the way, does the Barcelona skyline offer something comparable?)

Offline Technopat

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« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2009, 19:56 PM »
Greetings All,
As the self-appointed spokesperson for the iberianatureforum's Madrid Fraction, I wish to point out that the previous posting by a disenchanted Madrid-dwelling iberianatureforumer in no way represents the official view of this illustrious Fraction. Said disenchanted Madrid dweller shall shortly find himself summoned before the ad hoc kangaroo court (Sp anyone?) for revealing certain misleading aspects of this wonderful city's dirty linen and deliberately concealing other relevant data.

In particular, he omitted to mention the fact that the local and regional governments publish the relevant data on their Web sites, http://www.mambiente.munimadrid.es/opencms/opencms/calaire/consulta/gases.html and http://gestiona.madrid.org/aireinternet/run/j/InformHistoAlertasAccion.icm?ESTADO_MENU=10_1 respectively, together with the protocols established for warning the population, especially those among us who are at especial risk, such as children, older people and people with allergies.

Likewise, he omitted to m. that many of us here are very much aware of the fact that the politicians deliberately mislead us re. the true levels, as reflected by this article from El País.

Yours truly clearly remembers how, when the current president of the autonomous governemt of Madrid, DesEsperanza Aguirre, then a mere concejala (En. anyone?) for the environment, stated that they had not warned the population that the levels had been exceeded in order not to "causar alarma público".

However, both public bodies are actually very quick to publish the data regarding pollen levels and other acts of God things beyond their control.

Other major sources of non-traffic related contamination include the humungous amounts of dust and other airborne particles produced by the major roadworks, tunnelling and other constructions the inhabitants of this city have to suffer.

Don't-breathe-too-deeply regs.,
Technopat
« Last Edit: September 24, 2009, 20:12 PM by Technopat »
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline glennie

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« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2009, 21:32 PM »
Dear Techno

Had a look at those sites. Full info on pollution levels is available but, surprisingly (!! :biggrin:) there seems to be nothing on recommended levels/levels above which the Comunidad has to alert citizens via a website whose existence nobody is aware of.  :biggrin:

Yours,
The Shallow Breather

Offline lucy

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« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2009, 10:23 AM »
Hi Glennie and TP,
Sometimes it's a shock when you climb up to the hills around BCN, look down and realise you live within that dirty, discoloured layer of air, which is invisible when you're actually inside it.  There are good days, especially in the winter, when the wind blows it all out.

The level of pollution apparently has decreased since an 80km/h speed limit was introduced to the roads surrounding the city. 

They can detect all kinds of things in the air now.  I found this blog talking about the amount of cocaine in the air of Madrid and Barcelona.


Offline glennie

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« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2009, 14:43 PM »
What I don't understand is how the swifts can survive flying around in all that gunk.

Maybe the cocaine keeps them going.  :biggrin:

Offline Clive

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« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2009, 16:06 PM »
Thing is it is so simple to fix...... Ban the cars in the city centres.... Create a proper network and cleaner sytems of public transport within the city----  Look at the difference that was made in the last olympics! Course now they've let the cars back and its just the same as it was....
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Offline Technopat

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« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2009, 19:13 PM »
Greetings All,
So that explains how the swifts manage to spend all their time swooping down at breath-taking speed :angel: and then swirl upwards towards ever-greater and dizzier highs heights - an' here I was thinking it was all down to the vitamin B12 and brewers' yeast (Sp. anyone?). Mind you, The Bird did it on heroin - till it did him in* :'(

Shallow Breather, I knew you'd spot the scam in their set-up :dancing:

Lucy, surely the sea breeze must clear the air? By the w., re. yer
Quote
dirty, discoloured layer of air,
madrileños , when approaching Madrid from a day out in the sticks, refer to it as la boina (En. anyone?)

Clive, whatever you do, do NOT, repeat, do NOT tirarme de la lengua (En. anyone?) regarding the Olympics and their commitment to the environment or, for that matter, the spirit of fair play or Sport for All or the Olympic Legacy or... I have enough problems staying on topic at the best of times, but once I gets started on the JJ.OO., there's no stoppin' me :dancing:

For everyone's sake, just let me let off steam and have the occasional rave 'n' rant 'bout the criminal energy waste of the floodlights at football sports stadiums and the gas-guzzling, exhaust-fume-spewing F1 bólidos (En. anyone?) ...

*Not quite true, as Lisa and Simon probably know 8) He didn't actually OD - choked to death while drinking a glass of lemonade, sitting in front of the telly...

Many-people-in-Madrid-already-suffering-from-(contamination-related?)-allergies regs.,
Technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline lucy

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« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2009, 19:51 PM »
The sea breeze doesn't seem enough.  It's only when there's a good west or northerly that the air is sparkling clean. 

The swifts often spend long periods outside the city.  I've seen them returning, lungs full of fresh air, at twilight while I've been out walking on Collserola.

Offline Technopat

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« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2009, 21:36 PM »
Greetings Lucy,
Re. yer
Quote
The swifts often spend long periods outside the city.  I've seen them returning, lungs full of fresh air, at twilight
Long periods away from home? Lungs full of fresh air, you reckon? By all accounts, if they're anything like their madrileño cousins, I'd have serious doubts as to what they're full of. And as for them sneaking returning home at twilight, highly suspicious, I'd call it. You want to keep an eye on 'em, I reckon. 8)

As for me, every time I'm pretty sure I'm watching swifts (vencejo) I start doubting an' end up wondering whether they're really swallows (golondrina) or house martins (avión común), and in the end, just sort of give up  :noidea: - Mind you, I'm a dab hand at (Sp. anyone?) ID-ing Egyptian vultures... :dancing:

It's-tough-being-a-city-dweller regs.,
Technopat


Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Simon

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« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2009, 09:20 AM »
Hi Guys,

As a latecomer to this wonderful post I feel I have to stir things up a bit stimulate lively, informed debate*  :technodevil:

I recall Mr Teeps quoting something about Madrid's wonderful skies - details please Sire!

Meanwhile, I think that Barcelona's problem is due to its being surrounded by mountains that trap the polluted air. I'm guessing that this is exacerbated by the tendency for a land breeze to brew up every evening, at least in the summer, as the heated air above the inland areas rises, causing cooler, i.e. lower altitude, air to be drawn in from above the sea.

I've certainly never seen such clear skies over Barna as I found last March whilst visiting Madrid, chez the Technopat household+

Regs

Simon

* not to mention all that free tapas in Madrid!
+ with aplogies for not getting round to the promised trip report!
« Last Edit: October 05, 2009, 09:30 AM by Simon »

Offline nick

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« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2009, 10:36 AM »
The view from my toilet window is a 1mx1m concrete ventilation shaft.
Nick
http://iberianature.com/barcelona/history-of-barcelona/spanish-civil-war-tour-in-barcelona/
Spanish Civil War Tours in Barcelona
http://www.iberianature.com/
A guide to the environment, climate, wildlife, & nature of Spain
The Amazon/Forum Bookshop - lend us a hand
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/shop/index.htm
And also now The Natural History of Britain
http://iberianature.com/brita

Offline Technopat

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« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2009, 01:04 AM »
Greetings All,
Technopat is the proud owner (50%) of a flat less than 15 years old in Madrid. For those of you unaware of the afán de lucro (En. anyone?) of Spanish constructors, that means it does NOT have a window in the bathroom.

Older flats very often have bathroom/toilet windows looking out over an inner patio, but that extra space is needed for squeezing a coupla more viviendas out of the limited space available for constructing over (on?)... :banghead:

Oh-for-a-room-bathroom-with-a-view regs.,
Technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Simon

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« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2009, 10:47 AM »
Just for the record my bathroom (well, shower room really of course), all 50 x 50 cm of it, looks out over the solar to our neighbour's kitchen window - guess who got the better deal!

Regs

Simon