While the medals and finish lines from the Olympics are becoming a distant memory — so was the hard-fought clean air that Beijing enjoyed during the Games. Residents have been discussing just how to keep the measures in effect, and now they might have won. A partial victory at least.
Traffic restrictions have been re-introduced to Beijing, hoping to bring back the easy-breathing peace and quieter of the Games. The new plan doesn't go as far as the original measures however — each car only has to spend one day a week off of the roads, as opposed to the every other day plan during the Olympics. The benefit is, "expected to reduce Beijing's average road traffic flow by 6.5 percent," according to one city official. During periods of heavy pollution, the restrictions can be returned to the more stringent every-other-day plan.
How many cars are we talking that will be affected by the plan? To find out,
Beijing has 3.4 million cars on the road, with 1,000 more added every day. So the return of the measures seems great — but residents are complaining that it's too complicated — for instance on Mondays, license plates ending in one or six can't come in to the city. Since the skies in August were the cleanest Beijing has seen in 10 years, should the stricter measures stay? Is this just the tip of the iceberg of sacrifices we'll have to make for the planet in the years to come?