Giant on the move
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.
All this is due to Beijing having booted well over a million cars off the streets, idled construction sites, and closed the worst polluting factories for hundreds of kilometers while requiring the not-quite-so-bad plants to install and actually use emissions reducing equipment.
The weather also helped. After a hot, muggy start to the Games when a heavy fog bank sat smack over the city, some rain and a breeze have cleared things out. The numbers of days where the air quality is rated excellent have soared.