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China Races To Clean Up Olympic Air 362

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the hope-the-opening-ceremonies-are-confusing dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "With the Olympics due to start in less than three weeks, Beijing is cranking up antipollution measures by yanking cars off the roads, expanding mass transit and staggering work hours in a bid to meet its pledge of a 'green' Olympics. Beijing has gone on a spending spree, relocating factories, seeding clouds, retiring old vehicles, planting millions of trees and halting building construction amid concerns that athletes and visitors could suffer breathing problems. For the next two months, owners of 3.3 million private cars can drive only on alternate days in China's capital, based on whether the last digit of their license plates is even or odd. Environmental and sports performance experts have cast doubt on the effectiveness of the measures taken so far. 'Arguably these are all short-term measures, just designed to control air quality for the time when the Olympics are on,' says Dr Andy Jones. Dr Angus Hunter warned that athletes are at risk for low performance if the air quality cannot be brought down to acceptable levels. 'Average times could be lower and the chances of records being broken become less. It's a bit like trying to exercise in a room when the gym is full of smokers.'"
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China Races To Clean Up Olympic Air

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 21, 2008 @11:16AM (#24274603)
    That would be such a neat ad campaign. You could show Mao smiling as he holds a bus pass. I think it would work well in California too.
  • Just now? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by IronWilliamCash (1078065) on Monday July 21, 2008 @11:17AM (#24274621)
    If only they would do this for the right reasons... They'll be cleaning up for the olympics but it will all go back to hell as soon as it's over. They should try to solve the problem permanently instead of suppressing it so others think it's livable over there.
    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      by rob1980 (941751)
      Yeah, I'm betting a lot of those measures they are implementing aren't sustainable in the long term and will promptly vanish once the last event is over.
      • by Hoi Polloi (522990) on Monday July 21, 2008 @11:52AM (#24275273) Journal

        The residents of Beijing just need to inhale deeply just before the games end and hold it for the rest of their lives.

        Problem solved!

    • Re:Just now? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by DriedClexler (814907) on Monday July 21, 2008 @11:27AM (#24274835)

      I apologize profusely for not posting this in a more relevant spot, and for not finding where I originally heard this suggested, but, one interesting theory is that the reason for this nearly doubling of oil prices in the past year is that China is stockpiling it to run diesel instead of coal plants, so as to clean up their air for the olympics.

      Considering how inscrutable these recent price increases have been, this one seems really good at explaining things. Just a thought.

      For now, check out item 3 [aspo-usa.com] from a while ago, which mentions China trying to clean up for the Olympic games, and how they're importing more diesel.

      • by ColdWetDog (752185) * on Monday July 21, 2008 @11:48AM (#24275211) Homepage

        China is stockpiling it to run diesel instead of coal plants, so as to clean up their air for the olympics.

        I am not an expert on large power plants (in fact I know next to nothing about them which is why I'm posting here on Slashdot) but I'd be pretty surprised if you could just take an coal fired powerplant and just plug a diesel tanker into it. If your idea were true, you should see huge changes around the plants - construction of the tanks for one thing as diesel just doesn't form nice large piles like coal does.

        Take the tin-foil off, you'll feel better.

      • Another related demand on oil is that China is building a strategic petroleum reserve, similar to the one in the USA. Now, in theory, that build-out is still ongoing, and the fill rate is relatively slow. However, given the extreme importance of the diesel supplies during the Olympics, I would not be surprised if the Chinese SPR is being built and filled a lot quicker than publicized.

        China's SPR barely gets mentioned in the media, but it's huge, though, smaller than that of the USA. They aim to store the

    • Re:Just now? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 21, 2008 @11:31AM (#24274927)

      They've spent a fortune relocating factories including one of the world's biggest steelworks. They are not going to spend a fortune moving them all back again. They are not going to close the new metro lines. Even some of the temporary measures may have long term effects; people using the new transport networks while their cars are banned may switch permanently. This isn't just window dressing.

      That said, I returned from Beijing a week ago and the smog is terrible. I still have a very nasty cough. Though the air quality is much improved, it's still rubbish.

      • Re:Just now? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by initdeep (1073290) on Monday July 21, 2008 @12:01PM (#24275423)

        and most of that air quality has to do with the coal power plants which run with no emission controls like other countries have.

        they haven't, and are not, going to change that.

        it's something they have literally hundreds of years of supply, and something they can get for next to nothing in the way of costs, unlike oil based products which they have to import.

        and they aren't interested in spending money on economically friendly "alternative" energy sources that wouldn't supply 1% of their needs when they can again, spend next to nothing (including wages and other costs) to just use something they have.
        COAL.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          > something they can get for next to nothing in the way of costs, unlike oil based products which they have to import.

          You'll love this...

          Yes, China has vast internal coal potential. Internal in terms of geography - it is far from the coastal regions where it is most needed. Initially the coal was transported by rail, but this used too much precious diesel so instead China now imports coal by sea. Yes, imports.

          http://www.economist.com/specialreports/displaystory.cfm?story_id=10795813 [economist.com]

          China is c

        • Re:Just now? (Score:5, Informative)

          by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday July 21, 2008 @01:17PM (#24277043) Homepage Journal

          and most of that air quality has to do with the coal power plants which run with no emission controls like other countries have.

          I hate to break it to you, but at least in the US the average coal plant is way over the allowable limit of emissions. We can find out-of-compliance coal plants in the US as fast as we can secure money to send people up smokestacks to check emissions. I know one person formerly in the stack-sniffing business with whom I have discussed the situation (among others) and it's very, very dirty.

          and they aren't interested in spending money on economically friendly "alternative" energy sources that wouldn't supply 1% of their needs when they can again, spend next to nothing (including wages and other costs) to just use something they have.

          The overall cost of burning fossil fuels is much higher than they think. Cancer rates doubled in the industrial revolution.

          China isn't really known for paying its laborers fairly anyway, I'm sure they could do solar and wind quite cheaply. They are working on bringing up wind power, but not as hard as they're working on coal.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Cancer rates doubled in the industrial revolution.

            This is an astonishingly pointless thing to say. Cancer is, for the most part, something you get to die of when you're old. Life expectancy went up, more people got old, thus more people got cancer.

            For the most part, increased cancer rates have been a good thing. Cancer rates have, IIRC, tripled over the past hundred years or so. This is not because the environment is now loaded with carcinogens. Rather it is because people die less and less of things like heart attacks, strokes, accidents, etc., leaving mo

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Slowping (63788)

        I'm no China apologist, but I wonder if people are dismissing the long-lasting impacts of these efforts. Big political events such as the Olympics are great motivators for change and innovation in the same way as wars; and in much more agreeable conditions. A significant amount of spending and change that Bejing is instituting here is indeed short term; but not without some residual long-lasting impacts for Bejing and other cities. Even if the enviro-friendly spending is cut to a fraction of what it is n

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Solandri (704621)

        They've spent a fortune relocating factories including one of the world's biggest steelworks. They are not going to spend a fortune moving them all back again. They are not going to close the new metro lines. Even some of the temporary measures may have long term effects; people using the new transport networks while their cars are banned may switch permanently. This isn't just window dressing.

        While public transport use is definitely a plus, moving the factories is probably a net negative. The factories w

      • Re:Just now? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by TheTranceFan (444476) on Monday July 21, 2008 @03:30PM (#24279129) Homepage

        Yeah I was in Beijing about a year ago. They had started many of the air-quality programs already, such as banning scooters on the innermost two ring-roads that encircle Beijing and limiting new-construction permits.

        This (poor-quality) snapshot of the Bird's Nest from a moving taxi: Bird's Nest [pallium.com] might give you an idea of what visibility was like while I was there.

        When I was there I really came the conclusion that:

        a) there was no conceivable way they could really improve the air quality enough in a year
        b) Beijing was not going to be remembered as a "great Olympic venue."

        I applaud their effort, for sure. They can't be faulted for trying, and try hard they did. But I think it's a little difficult to undo millennia of environmental neglect in a few years.

        BTW, I still think Beijing is a very interesting place and I look forward to visiting it again. I'm just glad I'm not going to be doing any 100-m dashes while I'm there.

    • Re:Just now? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by HairyCanary (688865) on Monday July 21, 2008 @11:38AM (#24275053)

      Actually, I'm glad they are working so hard. At this point it's way too late to save their image. Even if they cut the pollution to zero for the Olympics it will be a hot topic. Every day on the news we hear about how hard they're working to solve the problem, and we get bombarded with pictures of how bad the situation is. China's pollution needed to be exposed to the world, now it is.

      • Re:Just now? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by initdeep (1073290) on Monday July 21, 2008 @12:03PM (#24275461)

        it has been for years.

        witness the very reason the kyoto protocol treaty was not ratified by the US despite a cetain person's desire.

        it was bullshit.

        and now everyone knows it.

        and the biggest reason it was bullshit was because china and india weren't going to be held accountable for their actions.

        and the "Developed" countries were, yet they already have in place protocols to limit their emissions.

        amazing how it comes full circle.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Narpak (961733)
          Becoming more energy efficient and reducing our emission in any sensible way we can is a very reasonable path to take. Saying we shouldn't do it because China isn't doing anything isn't an argument.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by comp.sci (557773)
          What kind of an argument is this? Some of the other guys aren't playing nice so we won't either? Let's keep things in perspective, China and India, while both becoming economically strong, are still to some degree developing countries. India's yearly budget for health spending is $4 per person, just to give an example. You are saying that if an impoverished country like them doesn't put in an equal amount of effort then you shouldn't either... I think people don't realize how big the gap is between develo
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by dodobh (65811)

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_greenhouse_gas_emissions_per_capita [wikipedia.org] indicates that the US emitted 22.9 tonnes of CO2 per capita, China was at 3.9 tonnes, and India was at a measly 1.8 tonnes per capita. The US should have been emitting ~ 0.8 tonnes per capita of CO2 to be equitable to India, twice that for China.

          After all, all that India and China are asking for is the same quality of life for their citizens as enjoyed by the more "developed" nations. Perhaps you need to rethink your assum

    • Re:Just now? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by barzok (26681) on Monday July 21, 2008 @11:56AM (#24275345)

      They should try to solve the problem permanently instead of suppressing it so others think it's livable over there.

      They aren't doing it for image purposes, to make people think that "it's livable over there."

      They're doing it because they've been told that events will be postponed or canceled to protect the health of the athletes if the air quality is poor.

      Which, yes, could ultimately come back to their image, but really it's about the money & what happens if scheduled events have to be canceled.

  • Air quality (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Yvan256 (722131) on Monday July 21, 2008 @11:17AM (#24274623) Homepage Journal

    athletes are at risk for low performance if the air quality cannot be brought down to acceptable levels

    Shouldn't that be "athletes are at risk for low performance if the air quality cannot be brought up to acceptable levels"?

  • If the whole world sees American athletes dressed up with goofy masks, they will see the USA as a bunch of sissies, especially if the Chinese -don't-.

  • Environmental Wackos (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Archangel Michael (180766) on Monday July 21, 2008 @11:19AM (#24274673) Journal

    China is the one of the worst, if not THE WORST environmental disasters this world has ever had. They are having one HELL of a time trying to clean up the mess they've created for themselves.

    By the time the Olympics comes around, I hope that the Chineese government has enough Egg Foo Young on their face to cause them to loose face to the whole world.

    Then maybe, just maybe they'll clean up their act. Naaaa, what I am thinking.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by moosesocks (264553)

      China is the one of the worst, if not THE WORST environmental disasters this world has ever had. They are having one HELL of a time trying to clean up the mess they've created for themselves.

      At least they seem to be acknowledging the problem for once.

      It's not much, but it's a start.

    • by Red Flayer (890720) on Monday July 21, 2008 @11:40AM (#24275093) Journal
      I agree with you in general regarding China's pollution problem, but the racist overtones (Egg Foo Young?) are unnecessary.

      That said, maybe if you look back at the industrial revolution in "cleaner" countries, we were just as bad. Read accounts of Liverpool in the 18th, 19th and early 20th century. Or how about chemical pollution in the US until the 1970s?

      China's position on pollution is no different than what other countries went through... the difference is just one of scale.

      This does not mean that China's attitude towards pollution is any more tenable, but it helps if we consider the processes by which other countries cleaned up their acts. Of note, grassroots support for a cleaner environment is problematic in China, given their political system, and the ease by which laws can be overlooked.

      But it doesn't reflect well on Americans (or other Westerners) to chastise China while ignoring our own sordid past.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 21, 2008 @12:00PM (#24275413)

        But it doesn't reflect well on Americans (or other Westerners) to chastise China while ignoring our own sordid past.

        You'd think they might have taken a look at our sordid past and learned to do things in a more sane way. In stead they took a look at our (westerners) sordid past and thought: "Hell, if they could do it so can we... times ten!".

      • by Romancer (19668) <romancerNO@SPAMdeathsdoor.com> on Monday July 21, 2008 @12:23PM (#24275915) Journal

        Dude, racist?

        "EGG" Foo Young on their face... as in Egg on their face. As in Mr T pitties the FOO that doesn't get a bit of localization in a bad pun. There's nothing racist about that remark that you didn't put there yourself. It's a joke that does not demean them as a race, or even say that they exibit stereotypical behavior. Just that they live in a region that introduced a type of cuisine. he did not even include the more typical dog ingredient jokes for the eastern nations that are much more typical of the belittling by mainstream comedians.

        I kinda take offence when people try to make general comments racist. If you stopped and thought about the whole racist issue you would find it disturbing that members of most races can use phrases and words that they do not allow other races to use without calling them racist. Isn't that the definition of racist? Treating a race differently because of their race? Allowing them to do something or forbiding them from something else based solely on their race? If we all kinda got the chip off our shoulders and let these comments go, the words would lose their power and that would be the end of at least a part of the problems we all face every day.

        The actions, are a different story of course and I acknowledge that, but the reaction to general comments are sometimes showing of more racist thoughts than the comments themselves.

      • by SuperKendall (25149) on Monday July 21, 2008 @12:32PM (#24276141)

        Or how about chemical pollution in the US until the 1970s?
        China's position on pollution is no different than what other countries went through... the difference is just one of scale.

        How does China get a pass on this? They are supposed to be a modern superpower just like the U.S. They are not what I would call a "developing nation", and produce most of the advanced electronics we use today.

        The failure they have is totally unrelated to to past problems the U.S. and others have seen with pollution. The effects are well known, as are means of controlling emissions. There simply is no will to impose any controls.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by corbettw (214229)

        The problem with ignoring Chinese (or Indian) pollution today because of American or European pollution 50 to 100 years ago is, they should've learned from us. When the West went through industrialization, we were trail blazers, and made a lot of mistakes. If Chinese leaders had any sense in them, they'd learn from our mistakes and avoid making the same ones. They're not, which is just a shame.

      • Egg Foo Young? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by phorm (591458)

        The racist overtones (Egg Foo Young?) are unnecessary.

        Well, being that the common expression is "egg on their face", and "egg foo young" is a common dish at a Chinese restaurant, it seems more an attempt at humour than racism.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 21, 2008 @11:21AM (#24274697)

    Just got an email from my PCB Fabrication house :

    "For our Printed Circuit Board customers using Chinese vendors, please be aware of the following air quality policy announcement from Chinese authorities:

    In preparation for the Olympics, China has announced a factory shutdown for 9 weeks to clear smog and improve air quality in a 200 kilometer radius of Beijing. The shutdown begins July 17th and will extend until September 20th. Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia and Shandong provinces are affected by the shutdown.

    If air quality does not improve before the start of the Olympics, there may be an expansion of the shutdown. There are concerns there could also be a bottleneck at two main ports. "

    Wonder how it will affect Chip prices

    • by RichMan (8097) on Monday July 21, 2008 @12:00PM (#24275415)

      Big chip production is done off shore in Taiwan. Not affected. And a lot more around Shanghai. Not affected.

      Page 10 of document with world map of IC plants [cicmt.org]
      does not show an FABs around Beijing in 2005.

      IC fabrication does not have a big supply chain. Just sand and rare elements as inputs.

      PCB and product manufacturing can be expected to be hit in strange ways. There are product paths, for connectors, cable assemblies, etc, that no one really understands that could be going through the affected area.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by RichMan (8097)

        Opps mistaken. As of 2005 there were a 0.35 and 0.8 lines in Beijing. But again very little appear to be some plants in Tianjin. Overall this will be 1% of global IC manufacturing. But if it affects a supply chain anything downstream will be hit.

  • Yeah... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Otter (3800) on Monday July 21, 2008 @11:21AM (#24274707) Journal

    "Arguably these are all short-term measures, just designed to control air quality for the time when the Olympics are on," says Dr Andy Jones.

    Ummm, no kidding? What does he mean, "arguably"? It's like how Athens temporarily incarcerated the city's thousands of stray dogs and then turned them all loose when the Games ended.

  • Signs (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Amorymeltzer (1213818) on Monday July 21, 2008 @11:22AM (#24274717)

    Arguably these are all short-term measures, just designed to control air quality for the time when the Olympics are on

    Is it obvious to anyone else that that statement should be a sign? If you have to reduce pollution so athletes don't cripple their records, shouldn't you, I don't know, try and stop it forever? I honestly hope no records are broken, and that every athlete in an event outside performs terribly compared to history, so hopefully a few more people might open their damned eyes.

  • by EmagGeek (574360) <gterich@aoMONETl.com minus painter> on Monday July 21, 2008 @11:25AM (#24274773) Journal

    When mom comes around saying he can go play when his room is clean, he frantically shoves the mess into the closet...

  • Danger Will Robinson (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RichMan (8097) on Monday July 21, 2008 @11:29AM (#24274869)

    It will be interesting how this will play out in the social/economical dynamics of China.

    Will the employees be paid during the shutdown?

    Have downstream manufactures in other areas made provisions to get alternate input sources?

    Will there be any unexpected interruptions in the supply chain? Either domestic consumption or export goods.

    If downstream factories in other areas have to shutdown there will not be government support, there will be unhappy workers.

    Having unhappy idle workers while the government is telling everyone to be happy about the Olympics is not a good thing.

    Also if US orders for Christmas are down because of US domestic fears then some idled factories might not find it easy to restart.

    • by Tweenk (1274968) on Monday July 21, 2008 @12:05PM (#24275509)

      If downstream factories in other areas have to shutdown there will not be government support, there will be unhappy workers. Having unhappy idle workers while the government is telling everyone to be happy about the Olympics is not a good thing.

      Nobody would dare to oppose or express discontent at anything the government does in order to ensure the success of the Olympic Games. It's not even a matter of profit or worldwide publicity anymore. It's a matter of life and death. My Chinese penfriend says that she'll be "serving the Olympic" - this should give you an idea about their dedication. You may condemn their government, but if they can do anything properly at all, then it's motivating people to take action.

  • hello, King Canute, is that you? (maybe one subtlety too far there. hmmm)
  • uh, wtf? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pak9rabid (1011935) on Monday July 21, 2008 @11:31AM (#24274921)

    athletes are at risk for low performance if the air quality cannot be brought down to acceptable levels

    Uh..call me crazy, but shouldn't this have been something that should have been taken into serious consideration before choosing a place like this for the Olympics? I mean, I may not be an expert on human physiology, but it would seem to me that having clean air for the Olympic competitors to breathe would have ranked among one of the highest in the checklist for selecting a location for the Olympics.

    • Re:uh, wtf? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ivan256 (17499) on Monday July 21, 2008 @11:35AM (#24275017)

      I'm pretty sure that the location was chosen using the time honored political methods...

      In other words, it was picked based on which locality was willing to bribe the judges the most, while at the same time having the best means with which to hide the bribes, or make them look legitimate.

  • by denis-The-menace (471988) on Monday July 21, 2008 @11:33AM (#24274977)

    I usually hate following the Olympic because it's such a bore.
    This year, all the stuff "around" the competition is WAY more interesting:
    -How many people will be arrested for silly things?
    -Will the athletes choke on the smog?
    -Will anything be allowed to be broadcasted out of China?
    -How many Chinese will try to defect?
    -And of course: The badly translated sign of the day.

    I don't think leaders of China will be able to stand have a spot light on them for the full 2 weeks. Imagine the fallout from regular Chinese people getting unfiltered news from the mouths of so many non-controlled people!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Tweenk (1274968)

      Unfortunately this won't be as interesting as you think, because they're truly world-class at show, behind-the-scenes action and changing facts by political pressure.

      -How many people will be arrested for silly things?

      If there are any foreigners arrested, the authorities will claim that they were arrested for offenses not related to politics, and authentic-looking footage will be presented. Rejecting the footage as fake will be regarded as anti-Chinese agitation. Domestic arrestees will be held until the end of the Olympic, and will not be allowed to make pu

  • by oliverthered (187439) <olivertheredNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Monday July 21, 2008 @11:36AM (#24275025) Journal

    well it depends on what their smoking, a bit of crack/crystal meth or pcp may actually give them a boost.

    I'm all for setting up this alternative drugie Olympics, if altitude training is ok, or lifting weights then why not a crack pipe.

  • by lymond01 (314120) on Monday July 21, 2008 @11:38AM (#24275051)

    With people considering a space elevator, why not consider a space vacuum cleaner? A long tube with one end in space and the other split like, say, a flying spaghetti monster, with multiple ends to suck up particulates. And little dogs.

  • OR, you could just choose locations for the Olympics that aren't already polluted... nah, let's hold them somewhere that has air quality so bad it could affect the outcome of the races.

  • by failedlogic (627314) on Monday July 21, 2008 @12:01PM (#24275427)

    Its fine and fair to blame the Chinese government for not bringing up tougher industrial anto-pollution laws. We are also being narrow-minded in saying this is alll a Chinese problem.

    The Western world has made China one giant production facility. All the really toxic production facilities - PCBs, paper (increasingly), steel and other metals, etc. are all being made in China. And they're making our clothes, food (which I *dont* buy), and so on. The shipping yards in China are the largest in the world for good reason.

    I'm buying made in the USA or Canada - first, less pollution in transportation, saves jobs, and (should) be higher quality and safer.

    China is overpopulated, yes, and thats a problem they (and we all have) to work to solve. Even if they had reduced pollution say by even 80% over the last decade, there's still too much being produced and too many people. We'd still have a problem.

    I don't think for many reasons it was wise of IOC to approve China. Living in the city of the host of the next Games, development ain't all that environmentally friendly either. Sea-Sky highway being one of them.

  • by LS (57954) on Monday July 21, 2008 @12:02PM (#24275447) Homepage

    There seems to be a lot of incredulity about Beijing's ability to clean up for the Olympics, but you are all forgetting that the government here is doesn't have the same limitations of a democracy, and can implement massive policy changes immediately. There are shutting down over 350 (!) factories down here, and have taken 60% of the cars off of the road. Most construction has stopped. I was here on Sunday, the first day this process went into effect, and we had a brilliant blue sky. Things are a little hazy again today, but they're not done shutting down everything yet. Expect a relatively pollution free Olympics. Sorry to rain on your hate parade guys. This is only a temporary solution though, which is amazing considering they spent 40 billion on infrastructure change to support the cleanup effort.

    LS

  • by notdotcom.com (1021409) on Monday July 21, 2008 @12:11PM (#24275659)

    For the next two months, owners of 3.3 million private cars can drive only on alternate days in China's capital, based on whether the last digit of their license plates is even or odd.

    Mexico tried the whole "even or odd" license plate thing a while back (for similar reasons) and it was an epic failure.

    People either bought another car, usually an older, more-polluting model, or just ignored the law. The result was that Mexico's air quality got WORSE from trying to restrict vehicles on the road because most 2nd (or 3rd) cars that were being purchased were older models with almost no pollution control equipment and higher fuel consumption.

    I don't know what it takes to buy a car in China, or how the government regulates license plate numbers, but if it's in any way similar to Mexico, this will fail too.

    • by xtracto (837672) * on Monday July 21, 2008 @03:21PM (#24278997) Journal

      Mexico tried the whole "even or odd" license plate thing a while back (for similar reasons) and it was an epic failure.

      Uuuh, as far as I know (asking to my relatives living in Mexico D.F.) the "hoy no circula" program is still going on strong in Mexico City, moreover, the program has just been extended for Saturdays (since July 5).

      Saying that it didn't work is a big claim. Granted, some people bought another car, however that is not very common, given the general population does not earn enough money to buy a second car.

      And moreover, the IMECA (Metropolitan Index of the Quality of Air, used to monitor the pollution in Mexico City) or AIQ [wikipedia.org] (nowadays between 50 and 70) is not as high as it used to be say, 10 years ago when it usually was between 80 and 110...

      You can check it from yourself, all the yearly data for Mexico City atmospheric conditions can be obtained from here [df.gob.mx].

  • by Matt Perry (793115) <perry.matt54NO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Monday July 21, 2008 @12:53PM (#24276581)

    I've been reading this guy's blog [theatlantic.com] off and on because he's posting pictures of the air quality. Compare this picture [theatlantic.com] with this one [theatlantic.com] to see what difference is being made.

  • Factories (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 21, 2008 @12:54PM (#24276593)

    Well you should read the article; they tried to move the factories but they couldn't find them because of the smog!!

  • by $criptah (467422) on Monday July 21, 2008 @01:42PM (#24277515) Homepage

    Not sure how many people remember or care to know about the games of 1980 held in Moscow, but similar things happened there in order to promote the image of the USSR.

    All people with questionable reputation were ordered to leave the city and the communist party spent a lot of time and money to ensure that everything was top notch (well, at least by the Soviet standards). Guess what happened when the games stopped?

    If people cannot see through this dog and pony show that every country is going to put up in order to look good, then yeah, China's new green image is a great success!

  • people will die (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 21, 2008 @01:45PM (#24277567)

    I know that it my sound extreme. but the reality is this:

    I just received a notice from my Printed circuit Board vendor in China stating that they will be unable to provide deliveries during this time due to mandatory shutdowns. thus i will have to resort to expensive U.S manufacturing. If im doing that then i assume others are doing the same. perhaps on a different scale then what my little company uses. As a whole this has to be effecting the average worker that works as such facilities there in china. Poor guy who was bringing home that 2$ a day now brings home none. on a larger scale you will see starvation, because i know more factory's then just PCB's manufacturing will be shut down.

    that 2$ a day buys grain to eat. how will he earn his grain?

    people might argue how this will effect consumer goods. but don't forget there is a human factor involved.

Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming

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