Are Beijing’s anti-pollution efforts paying off? Just yesterday Xinhua published a highly optimistic article on conditions in Beijing 50 days before the Olympics. According to Xinhua, Beijing’s skies are peachy-keen:
The number of “blue sky” days was 12 more than the same period last year, according to the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau. It was a clear sign that years of anti-pollution efforts by the Olympic host city continue to pay off, said Du Shaozhong, the bureau’s deputy chief and spokesman.
Unfortunately this picture begs to differ. Photographed by the Atlantic’s James Fallows yesterday at 10am, the city of Beijing is clearly suffocating underneath a heavy blanket of smog. Nick Mulvenney of Reuters blogs posted a similar picture yesterday, adding:
I wouldn’t want to run a marathon at the best of times, but to do so on a day like this would be unpleasant in the extreme.
(Australia’s track and field athletes certainly agree with Mulvenney, having decided to shun Beijing’s opening ceremonies in part to avoid the pollution). Hopefully the panel of overseas environmental experts that Beijing has recently hired will be able to improve conditions.