Winter is coming to us now…Nov. 8th is Beginning of Winter, one of the 24 solar terms in our lunar calendar,which marks the beginning of winter in China. I can feel more and more coldness in the air, and more and more pollution as well.
Usually,winter is a heavily polluted season in Beijing, as we use coals or natural gas to fuel our heating system. The heating system runs from mid November till next mid March, the coldest period in the year. While it keeps us from the coldness outside, the use of coals also brings about air pollution. Last week, we did have several foggy days and suffer some inconvenience. Due to the heavy fog, some expressways had to be shut down temporarily and many flights at the Capital Airport were delayed or canceled.
To make it even worse, there are more and more private cars on the roads, emitting more and more polluting tail gas into the air. I do think we’ve had more foggy days than last year. Next year, the Olympics is coming, I am worrying about how we will deal with the problem.
On the other side, however, I also see our government making their efforts to address the problem. People are encouraged to use public transportation sysem rather than driving private cars. From October 7th, the ticket fare for Beijing’s subway has been slashed down substantially. All the current subways have been connected and passengers can go anywhere within the system with a 2-yuan ticket. In the past, it took you 5-6 yuan.
The subways have attracted more people thanks to its low ticket fare. However, problems have also been arising. Subway line 5 has kept breaking down since its official operation on October 7th. I was asked to get off the train this morning due to some technical failures and this was not the first time I ran into such problems. And it seems that the heavy burden for Line 1 and Line 2 has not been alleviated as the two lines are as crowded as before.
I read in a report that the utilization rate of Beijing’s public transportation system is still very low, many people still love to drive private cars. The reasons are a mixed one. People tend to drive their own cars because the buses and subways are crowded all the time. There is, I think, still another reason is that Chinese like to satisfy themselves with the sense of accomplishment by driving their own nice cars on the roads, which makes them feel pretty good. Thus, there is still a long way to go for our government to address the traffic problems and educate and change people’s basic conception.
In fact, many people are contributing to a clear sky in Beijing. Some enterprises (e.g., The Capital Steel Group) have promised to reduce their output next year during the Games, and a car free day is also being accepted among the civilians.
I also read some reports that some athletes are worrying about Beijing’s air quality, some are even trying to boycott the Beijing Olympics.
However, I’m deeply convinced that we CAN hold a successful Olympics. As the slogan of Beijing Olympics goes, it will be a ” Green Olympics, Sci－Tech Olympics, and Humanistic Olympics.” Let’s do our share in making the air cleaner. I believe we can make it.