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Despite Covid’s resetting of business travel expectations, some trips remain unavoidable. Last Tuesday evening I flew into Joburg and was reminded how, when I made the trip more regularly, I used to be amazed every time I landed by the thick layer of filthy smog that pretty much permanently blankets the city, and the perplexing lack of indignation about it from its residents.

As I was writing this column on June 12, Swiss-based air quality technology company IQAir reported that Joburg’s air quality index (AQI) score was 175, on a scale of 0-500. An AQI score of 0-50 is “healthy”, 100-200 is “unhealthy”, 200-300 is “very unhealthy”, and above 300 is “hazardous”...

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