Don’t look now, New Years’ Resolution Makers, but more than 10 percent of 2016 has already slipped through our fingers (12.6 percent if you want to be anal retentive about it). What better time to check in on how Beijing is doing in cleaning up its air so far?
If the Ministry of Environmental Protection’s figures are to be believed (and they generally jive with the US Embassy readings, conspiracy theorists), the answer is: fantastic.
Mind-blowingly, lung-cleansingly, nostril clearingly amazing – a full 29 percent better than the same period of 2015, in terms of average AQI.
Whether its earnest attempts at controlling airborne pollution coming to fruition or a harbinger of economic collapse due to low factory production, we call it good news all around for the cardiopulmonary systems of the people of Beijing.
Just how much better has it been?
Through the first 46 days of 2015, Beijing’s average AQI rating was a whopping 131, while this year through yesterday the average has been 94.
Better yet, we’ve had a full 16 days of great quality air (days where the AQI is 50 or under) – that’s one out of every three days to you and me, buddy.
Compare that to the paltry six days of the first part of 2015 that made the grade.
Oh, it hasn’t been perfect – we’ve had one horrendously bad day this year (Jan 2) where the AQI peaked over 300, and six crummy days where the index was over 200.
However, when you compare it to last year (two days over 300, and 10 over 200), it just makes you want to go outside and take a deep, deep breath.
We still have a long way to go though before we can call Beijing a clean air city, and we certainly hope that all of you are on board with equipping your homes, offices and faces with essential Beijing gear such as air filtration units, air quality monitors, and anti-pollution masks.
But hey, if Beijing can keep it up (and given the success they’ve seen now for two years in a row in reducing air pollution), it’s safe to say that we’ve already lived through the worst of it, and we’re on our way to gradually cleaner skies from here on out.
Come Winter Olympics 2022 we hope to be singing Beijing’s praises as the first-ever “green” Winter Olympics fueled entirely by renewable energy and with air quality that rivals the Swiss Alps.
Hey, stranger things have happened!
Image: Michael Wester