Photo Credit: inhabitat.com
Beijing finally sees blues skies again after ages, following restrictions on factory production and car use that were put into place on August 20. Five million cars forced to drive on alternating days leading up to its largest military parade that marks the 70th anniversary of Japan’s WWII defeat on September 3, so that the city’s usually smoggy skies would be a brilliant blue.
The act took weeks of preparation, which involved seriously cutting down on the city’s massive pollutants that normally cause Beijing to be smoggy and grey, revealing a view of Beijing that locals, and the world, had not thought possible. The air quality index, usually at dangerous levels, sunk to a desirable 17 out of 500. The beautiful blue was nicknamed “parade blue” on the internet, marking the city’s rarity.
Unfortunately, as if someone just flipped a switch, the day after the parade, with restrictions lifted, the typical haze settled back into the cityscape and Beijing’s air quality index hit 160, a level at which “everyone may begin to experience some adverse health effects,” according to the EPA, leaving the view of blue skies a bittersweet, faded memory.
With the blanket of noxious smog once again covering the city less than 24 hours later, many residents were left puzzled over how it had come back so fast. And, many were not so pleased by the idea that authorities will clean up the city’s skies only for major international events.
An Internet user from China remarked, “Military Parade Blue is gone; in its place is our ‘Normal Status Gray.’ Another wrote, “Residents in Beijing will start cursing again. Do we want development? Or do we want the environment? This all shows that the pollution is caused by human activities, and that it’s possible to control.”
Photo Credit: Reuters via The Telegraph