In Beijing, Blue Skies Prove Hard to Achieve
BEIJING — Less than two weeks before the Olympics, Beijing’s skies are so murky and polluted that the authorities are considering emergency measures during the Games beyond the traffic restrictions and factory shutdowns that, so far, have failed to clear the air, state media reported on Monday.
For the past five days, Beijing has been a soupy caldron of humid, gray skies. Local pollution ratings have exceeded the national standard for acceptable air since last Thursday, despite a temporary air pollution control plan that began on July 20.
Under that plan, officials have used odd-even license plate restrictions — limiting motorists to driving on alternate days, depending on whether the last number on their license plate is odd or even — to reduce daily traffic by two million vehicles, or more than half the city’s total. Production at some factories has also been curtailed in Beijing and outlying areas.