Naturally, we think that Shanghai beats Beijing in the better city competition, but here’s some extra reasons why. The UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) has found Shanghai’s air quality to be far better than Beijing’s, an auspicious ruling ahead of the Expo. The blue sky index shows that Beijing’s levels of PM10 particles are twice as high as Shanghai’s.
According to Dr. Richard of MyHealthBeijing:
Shanghai has cleaner air because geographically it has local oceans and waters that can rapidly clear the air, while Beijing is similar to Los Angeles in being stuck in a valley surrounded by mountains.”
But it’s more than just a geographical advantage that lets us breath a little easier. In preparation for the Expo, Shanghai has been working extra diligently to improve air quality, much like Beijing’s efforts during the Olympics. And there’s hope we’ll learn from the capital’s mistakes and remain committed to improving the environment even after the Expo concludes:
This year alone, the government has spent 42 billion yuan to promote clean air initiatives and implemented initiatives – as far as banning high-emission vehicles from downtown. Achim Steiner, the UN Under-Secretary-General and the UNEP executive director has lauded Shanghai’s efforts, saying the city is “clearly determined to turn its modernization into a green example for urban development of the future.”
But, as we all know, Shanghai’s air quality is still far from perfect and it looks like we’ll have to continue our sojourns to the country to reprieve our lungs at least for a while.