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Can China stage 'green' Games?

排行榜 收藏 打印 发给朋友 举报 来源: The Yomiuri Shimbun   发布者:tianshanyunhai
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BEIJING--Those involved in preparing for the Beijing Olympics have turned their attention to a technology capable of preventing rainfall.

On July 31, the Beijing Meteorological Bureau news conference was inundated with foreign journalists.

Zhang Qiang, deputy director of the Beijing Weather Modification Office, said China had succeeded in experiments to prevent rainfall and clouds.

"Only Russia has succeeded in reducing rainfall. So, we have to continue the experiment over a long period," she said.

Zhang and others are working on a grand experiment to hold the opening and closing ceremonies of the Summer Games under clear skies next year.

In manmade efforts to prevent rainfall, shells loaded with chemical materials are shot into the sky from an area near the Olympic stadium to produce rain in advance or extinguish rain clouds.

This is an application of the technology to produce rainfall in times of a water shortage. China is trying to bring nature under control to make the Olympic Games successful.

However, China is trying to do more than just create clear skies. It is also making great efforts to produce clean air.

A July report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said air pollution in some of China's cities had reached the world's worst level.

The expression "worst level" shocked Chinese authorities.

In June, the Beijing clean air index met city health criteria on just 15 days, nine days fewer than the same month the previous year, as well as the lowest number in seven years.

Joint research by Tokyo University and Peking University that began in 2005 has already revealed data on air pollution in Beijing.

Beijing's annual average density of soot particles from car exhaust is about six times higher than Tokyo. Air pollution in the Chinese capital is similar to early-1970s Japan, when environmental contamination became a serious social problem.

Chinese authorities are working hard to reduce air pollution. In a move to pare down the 3 million registered vehicles running in the city during the Olympic period, officials said they would reduce the number of vehicles by 1 million on a trial basis this month.

The authorities also established an organization staffed with "energy-saving police," who patrol commercial buildings and hotels to ensure air conditioners installed in those facilities are set at no lower than 26 C. The police will order the operators of those facilities to raise the temperature if the thermometer reads below that temperature.

The authorities plan to reduce smoke from thermal power plants by lowering electricity consumption.

They also are banning the traditional postharvest burning of straw as it contributes to air pollution.

Despite these measures, it does not seem that air in Beijing has become cleaner.

At a Japan Olympic Committee meeting on July 23, coaches said athletes would be sickened by polluted air.

Senshu University Prof. Jun Oyane, a disaster expert who has lived in Beijing, said people would not be able to stop coughing for a while after two or three days in Beijing.

Foreign news media also reported British swimmers would not travel to Beijing until shortly before the opening of the Games out of fear of air pollution, and that the Canadian women's soccer team said many players had complained of chest pain due to their oxygen intake being 10 percent lower than normal while playing in China's capital.

Concerns over air pollution have never been so high in previous Summer Games. This is the price China has to pay for breakneck economic growth without paying sufficient attention to the environment.

It remains to be seen whether China can open the "green Summer Games" under clear skies and clean air at 8 p.m. on Aug. 8, 2008, as it has proclaimed.

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