Points of View

No Worry about the Weather in the Upcoming Olympics

NOV . 10 2008

Mr. Wang Yuesi, Research member at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics,Chinese Academy of Sciences, Director ofAtmospheric Sciences Research Centre of Chinese Ecosystem Research Network and Vice Director of State Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Boundary Layer Physics and Atmospheric Chemistry.

 

With the Beijing 2008 Olympics rapidly approaching, the improvement of air quality in Beijing has become a sensitive issue. Can the air quality of Beijing during the coming Olympics be good enough? What are the specific measures to take to improve the air quality of Beijing? Such issues not only draw concern from the citizens in Beijing, but also receive world-wide concern.

 

Set your mind at ease

 

The air quality in Beijing has been of concern for a long time. During the Good Luck Beijing comprehensive testing period from 17th to 20th of this August, traffic restrictions were introduced and environmental monitoring was carried out throughout Beijing in the hope that the air quality in Beijing could be improved by reducing motor vehicle emissions by enforcing the rule that each day either the odd-plate-numbered vehicles or the even-plate-numbered vehicles shall only be on the road.

 

Wang Yuesi said to Science Times, that his campaign encourages the engagement of all citizens in Beijing and there are numerous scientists and researchers who have undertaken comprehensive atmospheric pollution monitoring besides many other tests. “As long as the government strategies are appropriate, the scientists’ suggestions are sensible, the surrounding provinces and cities are cooperative, it can be said with assurance that the air quality in Beijing Olympics will be up to standard” said Wang Yuesi. Beijing’s air quality is influenced by manmade factors as well as weather conditions. During July and August, Beijing’s high humidity level combined with calm winds may disable the diffusion of pollutants. Hence, due to natural weather factors, it is hard to make effective control of the pollution. People, however, can control the discharge of pollutants, as reflected in the traffic restrictions introduced in August this year. What counts is to see whether controlling the key pollution source of motor vehicle emissions proves effective or not in improving theair quality of Beijing.

 

Many major cities abroad have taken measures to control motor vehicle emissions with a view of improving air quality. Specifically, the Olympic host cities of Athens and Atlanta were among other cities that introduced traffic restrictions which saw an effective reduction of motor vehicles’ emissions during Olympics. In the case of the Atlanta Olympics, no more than 2.5 million vehicles were allowed on the road, which produced satisfactory results.

 

In addition to traffic restrictions, Beijing will take comprehensive measures including closing down a number of major sources of pollution such as the construction sites so as to make sure the air quality during Beijing Olympics is good.

 

With regard to the air quality during Beijing Olympics, the research fellow Wang Yuesi did not show any concern as he said, “Given our current levels of scientific research and the co-operation of the government, the public can be assured that the air quality during Beijing Olympics will be fairly good.”

 

Scientific research is the backbone

 

Beijing is the political, economic and cultural center of China. With its rapid development, the pollution in the city’s atmospheric environment is escalating and the air quality has seriously deteriorated. In 1998 Beijing was listed as one of the ten most polluted cities in the world. To address air pollution has been the constant concern of Beijing Municipal Government. That explains why the air quality guarantee for the Beijing Olympics has aroused so much concern. “The government, the citizens and scientists all share the concern about the environment”, Wang Yuesi remarked. In cooperation with the government, many researchers are actively engaging in scientific research on the atmospheric environment in Beijing and their work proves to be the backbone for the air quality guarantee during the Beijing Olympics this year. In recent years, many research projects have been conducted on Beijing’s atmospheric pollution by the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Environmental Protection, the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Meteorology, the Ministry of Science, and the National NaturalScience Foundation, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, such as the project “on the transmission and transformation of the atmospheric pollutants between Beijing and its surrounding areas and Beijing air quality control goal” which was initiated with the financial support of Beijing Municipal Committee of Science and Technology, and was undertaken by the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Environmental Protection.