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Beijing goes ECO

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

just got back from beijing(!!).  the olympics was an unbelievable experience, but i wanted to show huddlers just how blue the sky was:




this is a pic from tiananmen square, across the street from the forbidden city.  i was floored by how clear the sky was.  i've been to china three times prior (1995, 2002, 2007), and the air was astoundingly different.  no more icky haze...clearly, the drastic changes that beijing implemented (shutting down factories, regulations on which beijingers can drive on what days -- apparently they alternate by license plate number) have been effective.


mostly, this makes me feel hopeful about environmental repair.  if, in just one year (compared to 2007) the atmospheric pollution can abate so extremely, imagine what a decade of improvements can accomplish.  i just wonder what will happen once the games are over and the restrictions are lifted....fingers crossed!


post #2 of 6

Welcome back!  Coincidentally, the marathon world-record holder agrees with you.


Marathon world record-holder Haile Gebrselassie regrets pulling out of the 42-km race at the Olympics over fears that Beijing’s air pollution would damage his health.


“I’m surprised. What do you expect from me? I was here in February, I didn’t see no blue sky,” the Ethiopian runner told Reuters on Monday in China’s capital, where the sun was shining in a slightly hazy sky.


“Since I came here everything is perfect. They should tell us,” he added with a laugh.

Asked if he was now sorry not to be running in next Sunday’s marathon, he chuckled again and said: “Don’t push me. Yes.”


Gebrselassie, a 35-year-old who suffers from asthma, announced in March that he would not participate in the marathon and called on China to deal with Beijing’s pollution problem, saying it would be a hazard to athletes.



International Olympic Committee chief Jacques Rogge said last year that endurance events such as the marathon or long-distance cycling races could be rescheduled if efforts to clear Beijing’s polluted skies were unsuccessful.


As it turned out, the opening days of the Games were marred by smoggy skies but the weather has cleared for the second week.

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

haha i was wondering if he'd regret pulling out of the marathon now.  can't believe everything cleared so drastically since FEBRUARY.  that's fast.  regardless, skies are so blue -- looks amazing.  just hope it holds, right?  esp when they open those factories back up.  how quickly do you think it'll return to the way it was?  i guess that if it can clear that fast, it can get icky that fast....

post #4 of 6

Yeah since it cleared up just from the first week to the second, I'm guessing some of that was weather-related.  They probably got some good winds blowing some of that crud elsewhere, and then becase the factories were shut down and cars weren't driving, the air temporarily remains clean.  But my guess is that as soon as all that stuff starts up again, the air pollution will return.


Good short-term success, but China needs long-term solutions.  And to their credit, they're working on it.  I've seen quite a few stories about wind and solar and such projects in China.  Just today I read a story that they increased the taxes on large cars and decreased them on smaller cars.  While that might encourage more people to get the small cars, at least they'll be deterred from buying larger ones.

post #5 of 6

I can vouch as well. When I was at the beach volleyball game I could have sworn I was sitting in San Diego. It was crazy.


While I definitely saw evidence of change absolutely everywhere (lot of solar panels, LOTS of electric scooters), I also saw external air conditioners on every room of many buildings, 2 stroke scooters all over the place, unbelievable congestion, and just an unbelievable scope of the city, let alone the whole country.


It'll be a tough climb for them to make, but extremely important. I tried to ask a few people about how important the environment was to them, but had a lot of issues with the language barrier, ha. I'll upload some more pics ASAP.

post #6 of 6
Originally Posted by Deej:

While I definitely saw evidence of change absolutely everywhere (lot of solar panels, LOTS of electric scooters)


Niiiiiice.  I'm going off topic here, but I've been seeing a lot of scooters around these parts recently.  Mostly gas, but still good to see.


I do think China is making a conscious effort to preserve the environment, but you can certainly see how it would be difficult with the economy growing so rapidly.  We built a whole lot of coal power plants in our country when the economy was booming too.

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