It has been some time since China had any good press, and recent protests over air quality by Olympic athlete’s and international protests for a free Tibet have done little to lighten the mood. Things for China did not improve in the slightest when a University of California study released their findings and named China the #1 polluter on the planet (…YES! High Five!).
Finding it easier to squash and ignore the Tibet issue Chinese authorities are focused on showcasing their Olympic host city. As a means of addressing air quality issues Bejing has issued a few directives that are aimed at resulting in more sunny days in the Capital city.
In an effort to curb carbon emissions from automobile traffic Bejing has issued the equivalent of Drive-Day rationing. Based on the last letter of your license plate cars are ordered to only drive every-other day. And in a well-mannered society such as China we are certain there will not form a Black Market for extra license plates.
Bejing has also ordered a cease and desist notice to all automobile shops. Two theories appear to be the backbone for this decision. First, by halting the painting of cars they are preventing the noxious fumes of the paint from hovering over the city. Secondly, if broken, wrecked and non-functioning cars cannot be repaired there will be fewer cars on the road; thus making the alternate-day driving directive that much easier to impose. Or may better fuel the Black Market with those unused license plates.. hmmm.
Other efforts to reduce the smog and soot that often darkens the Bejing sky China will be working to clean up coal plants, and presumably their smoke stack emissions, and have issued a non-smoking decree for the Olympic stadiums. While people in Europe and North America often shrug anymore at the idea of Non-Smoking signs everywhere that is a HUGE change in China. Now if they could stop the collective population of Bejing to stop spitting everywhere ahead of and during the Olympics that would be greatly appreciated as well.
The real question for China is whether the spot-light of the Olympics will do anything to encourage the nation to pursue greater efforts toward cleaner technologies and a better quality of life?