Monday, July 21, 2008

Beijing sees blue

Beijing's skies are beginning to look blue following a massive effort to cut down on industrial and traffic pollution. Flying into Beijing last week one passenger, not having returned for over one year, commented on how clear the view was. "I've never seen Beijing look so clear", said Ms Wang, "It's beautiful isn't it?" Indeed, the view, as the plane came into land at Beijing International Airport, was unobstructed. The city is almost permanently covered in a layer of smog, something which the International Olympic Committee were extremely concerned about. But now it seems the only hazard athletes need to contend with is the high temperatures, already in the low 30s. But while there is much cause for celebration, it may well be short lived. After the Olympics, restrictions on the flow of traffic will be relaxed and the factories will once again start production. So the clear views and breathable air may well be short lived as Beijing once again becomes shrouded in the familiar smog.

In other parts of China the flow of traffic remains the same, as does the continuing belching of smoke from factory chimneys. In Kunming the smell of brick dust and cement hangs in the air along with the traffic fumes. Traffic jams in the city centre are common, a scene repeated in cities across China as car ownership increases.

[tvnewswatch, Kunming, Yunnan province, China]

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