Blue skies and visibility of up to 40km (you could make out the city’s western hills from the CBD) marked the end of the best month of air quality that Beijing has seen in a long time. Of the 31 days in August, only one (Aug 29 – although the MEPA site still ranks it as a “fairly good” day) went beyond the official blue sky target of 100 as measured on the Air Pollution Index (API) . The rest of the month saw 14 days of “excellent” air quality and 16 “fairly good days.” The previous record, set in 1998, was for a total of 9 days of “excellent” air quality in a single month. Last August there were only two days of “excellent” weather.
Du Shaozhong, deputy director of the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau, has been quoted by Xinhua as saying that the bureau will not let air quality slip in the post-Olympic period. There has been a lot of debate online (including online opinion polls - you can share your opinion over at the Beijinger forum) and in newspaper columns about the wisdom of continuing to implement the odd and even car ban in the city. If you've been enjoying the ease of travel and good weather this past month, you might want to consider joining the Keep the odds and evens car restrictions in Beijing Facebook group.
Links and Sources
Beijing News: 8月份蓝天创十年纪录
Xinhua: Beijingers vexed on keeping car ban
China Daily: Beijingers debate car restrictions
IHT: Reopening of waste plant in Beijing angers residents
China Daily: August enjoys best air quality in decade
Xinhua: Beijing air pollution index down more than 20 percentage points during Olympics
edie.net: Beijing air 'met Olympic standards'
Phoenix: 北京现透明度极高蓝天 局部能见度超40公里(图)
China.com.cn: 北京出现透明度极高蓝天 局部能见度超40公里
China Daily: Aug 8-24 crime rate the lowest in 8 years
China Daily: Emergency plan mulled for clear air during Games
Beijing Air Blog: Traffic measures - status after 1 week
Ministry of Environmental Protection: Air Pollution Index (Eng)
The Beijinger: City announces new measures to ensure "blue skies" during Olympics
The Beijinger Blog: Pic of the Week: 10:05 from my window
The Beijinger Blog: Holy Smoke, Beijing!