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Towards the end of last year, thousands of people living in northern China were evacuated from their homes due to a toxic combination of airborne pollutants. Beijing legislators were quick to label the situation a "meteorological disaster". This, of course, is not true. Rebranding industrial pollution as a phenomenon of nature serves to exculpate the companies that were largely responsible for the country’s toxic smog. China’s use of capitalist ideology as a means of redirecting accountability during a moment of ecological crisis draws a curious parallel with how the City of Cape Town has dealt with the water-shortage crisis. At 36% capacity, Cape Town dams have reached a critical low. If these levels drop below 20%, it will not be possible to provide water to consumers. In reaction, the City of Cape Town has implemented Level 3B water restrictions which target domestic, middle-class water usage, with repeated references to gardens, pools, car washes and irrigation systems. Fearing ...

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