Giant on the move
On the first day of the Copenhagen climate change summit, Beijingers were experiencing what authorities called a ‘slightly polluted’ day.
Air quality in the capital has improved, thanks in part to the movement of factories elsewhere and new traffic restrictions first experimented with ahead of last year’s Olympics.
Official weather monitors boasted over 80 percent ‘blue sky days’ in the first half of this year – the best air quality in over a decade (though the reliability of results is disputed – see the US embassy monitor’s take on Monday’s air quality here…)
With an estimated 1,000 to 2,000 new cars hitting the city’s roads every day, residents like Mr. He (see video) are still waiting for a breath of fresher air.
For those of us who live in Beijing, the air during the Olympics has been a real treat. It smells sweet and breathes in nicely. Even better, I feel like I can see forever — buildings that are more than a mile away, even the purple outline of the Fragrant Hills to the west of the city.
There were a lot of worries about the Beijing smog expressed by athletes and foreign journalists before the Games began. But for the last week, there has been a lovely salmon tinge to the clouds — real clouds, not smog! — in the evenings.