The Global View

Where’s Beijing’s blue sky gone?

CHINA WATCH

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This is the morning view from an office today. Horrible huh? Maybe the window is as dirty as the air;)

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The same day, 13:30 on Beijing Street.

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This was some day in May. I miss it…

Beijing launched a programme called “Defending the Blue Sky” in 1998, when the city had only 100 days of blue sky.

If you asked me to choose two colours to describe Beijing, the city I am living in, they would be grey and blue. Grey is the usual colour of the sky, and blue is so rarely seen that I always remember when it shows through.

This year, the capital has set up a goal of “245 days of blue sky” for its Blue Sky Plan. But up to June, Beijing saw only 110 “blue sky” days, or days with fairly good air quality.

Will Beijingers be able to see 135 days of blue sky in the rest of 2007? I am not optimistic judging from this month’s weather. The skies of Beijing have been dark with rain in July, but after the rain, the air did not smell fresh. Even worse, the weather was foggy. It is said the smoke floating across the city was caused by farmers in the neighbouring Hebei Province burning straw, and generating heavy smoke and dust in late June.