Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Beijing Smog

Beijing Air Quality

There has been a lot of press in foreign newspapers about Beijing’s air quality and Beijing's ability to provide clean air for the Olympic Games in recent weeks.

Smog hangs over Beijing

The Beijing government has just these last 4 days trialed a system of restricting traffic on the city's roads, using the odd and even number plate system for cars on alternate days. The campaign has worked very well to reduce the amount of traffic on the roads. Travel times around the city have been significantly reduced.

Whether the Beijing government wanted to use the campaign to study the impact on air quality of to simply trial their ability to improve commuting times around the city is open to question. If the government wanted to see the effect on air quality, it will have undoubtedly noticed visual air quality within the city has taken a marked turn for the worse during these 4 days where traffic volumes have been halved, using the odds and evens system. The smog has been the worst seen in the city during the last week!

Olympic Stadium, Beijing

Traffic appears to have minimal effect on the amount of air pollution within the city. It is much more likely that the pollution is coming from industry in and around the city, and from outside of Beijing Province. Knowing China's marvelous ability to 'pull rabbits out of hats' there is little doubt the air quality for the Olympics will be at the very least fair, if not very good. Visits by the Olympic committee or other important foreign leaders on official visits regularly bring significant improvements to Beijing's air quality!

There have been conflicting reports in English language media about the government's plans for the use of bicycles during the Olympic Games. Some magazines have featured articles saying that bicycles will be banned from many roads during the Olympics. Other media, like local television news have focused on the increased numbers of bicycle hire businesses both downtown and around the city. The hire bicycles being featured in news reports are new and have been available to members of the public during the recent campaign to reduce vehicles on Beijing's roads.

Whatever happens there is no doubt that China will rise to the occasion and make the 2008 Olympic Games one of the most incredible spectacles the world has ever seen!

Hotels in Beijing

Books on China and Beijing

Book the Capital Hotel Beijing Book the Beijing Downtown Holiday Inn