Polution in Beijing and the approaching 2008 Olympics

For those of you who have spent any considerable amount of time in Beijing, it is probably very apparent the issue that is facing the upcoming Olympics — the issue of air pollution. It used to be that the air was filled with smoke in the winter as the farmers around Beijing would burn the fields in preparation for the planting season.

I remember vividly the day my family and I arrived in Beijing (a couple of years back) on my third stint in China. It was a dark winter evening and the Beijing airport was covered in slightly blue smoke — there was so much of it that it even permeated the plane as we were waiting to disembark from it…..Then as we entered the airport terminal it was felt as well….At the time we thought “No big deal, this is a temporary issue…” And it was (sort of) — in the Spring things improved. Then last year the weather and pollution were quite a bit heavier — there were days when the sun was just a silver disk in the sky (behind the haze)….

And now that the Olympics are approaching the local government is concerned and acting. I am sure there will be a drastic reduction in manufacturing and construction activity several months prior to the August 2008 date. This should allow the construction dust to settle. Factories are being relocated (this has been going on for a couple of years now), and car traffic will be heavily restricted…..

I have no doubt that all these measures will help and make the Olympics successful. But there is a need (a drastic one) to make changes. One example of that is the adoption of alternative energy sources and engines…. Here is an example of some really new and interesting one and I also try to cover developments in new / hybrid vehicles in my automotive related blog.

Living and driving in China you get to see how congested roads are and you start to appreciate how important impact hybrids and alternative fuel could have on China….both on emissions, greenhouse gases, and also on cost of driving (alternative fuels could reduce the strain on resources and the resulting run up on prices)….

For those of you who are not sure if you have seen the Beijing haze, here is a look…:

Polution in Beijing Beijing July Haze

2 thoughts on “Polution in Beijing and the approaching 2008 Olympics”

  1. This is a mist, a fog, but not smog at all. It is very humid during summer time, I was there last July. This “smog” is even in the mountains, at the Great Wall – it cannot be pollution. Some wear masks sometime, especially road policemen, but it is rather rare. Maybe it is different in the automn wheb the farmers burn the fields, but this seasonal smoke pollution could be anywhere…

  2. Sure, nice to think of it as mist and fog 🙂 Just try to run for example, when this happens (which is VERY OFTEN)….or do any other physical activity…you will be able to tell whether it is pollution (mix of particulate matter, smoke, etc) or something else.
    Another tell tell sign is when the kids are not allowed to play outside during school recess…
    But seriously, yes – some days there is mist / high level of humidity. That by itself traps more matter in and keeps a lid on the city – which creates further more heavy concentration of humidity+dust+smoke+sud…..
    At least the heavy cases are not that often.
    Side note: I have been to the great wall at Simatai or Mutianyu and never had a “misty” condition….take a look at my photos of the Great Wall at multiple places on my blog….

    Happy travels!

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