the air thickens….

July 28th, 2008

Thanks to Danwei….. China Daily reports on the possibility of even tougher traffic restrictions if the air doesn’t clear up for the Olympics. Two things in this article strike me:

Talking to China Daily over the phone, she said the environment authority would inform the public as early as possible about the details of the plan.

Zhu Tong, an environmentalist, has suggested keeping up to 90 percent private vehicles off the streets during the Games as part of the plan. Only vehicles whose license plate ends with the last digit of the date should be allowed to hit the road, he said.

[my emphasis]

Woho! That is strict! Unfortunately, it’s the kind of thing that could only be done over a short period for very specific circumstances- the Olympics, in other words. The odds/evens rule, though, is something that could (and should and please, please, please) be kept permanently.

And:

The smog yesterday was likely to have been caused by poor weather and emissions both, Du Shaozhong, deputy director of the Beijing environmental protection buearu, told reporters at the Main Press Center for the Games yesterday. Du said tougher plans are ready to safeguard athletes’ health.

Indeed. I do think that in all their whingeing foreign athletes, coaches and journalists are ignoring one important and very large fact: Beijing’s natural conditions. The weather. There’s not a hell of a lot that can be done to clear up the mess of turgid, sticky humidity that often settles over the North China Plain in the summer, trapping all the pollution in the city. What we need is a good, dry wind from the north to clear the air out, and that is beyond the abilities of even China’s weather modifiers to order up.

But I would like to see these super-tough traffic restrictions. They’d make cycling round the city so much fun!

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