Thursday, July 10, 2008

Beijing, we have a problem!

Well, I'm back in Beijing, currently suffering from jet-lag having managed a grand total of an hour sleep on the flight here from Munich via Dusseldorf. I'll be spending a couple of weeks back at my old department and will give a series of talks here on various research directions.

It's great to be back in this hot, muggy, chaotic, dynamic city, but one thing is clear:

There is less than a month to go until the start of the Olympics and the pollution is utterly horrendous! I mean, really, about as bad as I've ever seen it! My throat is already burning from the smog, and with visibility down to around a kilometer when we landed this morning, you could immediately smell the concrete, acrid stench as the plane door opened.

I do still believe that they will have it sorted for the Olympics itself, with a combination of cutting cars and factories down in the next couple of weeks and the huge program of rain seeding which they used to great effect last year. However, as far as I'm aware, the athletes are going to be arriving here in the next couple of weeks and I don't believe the problem will be solved by then. They are clearly going to have a short-term solution to this vastly long term problem and even that is going to be cutting it fine. I can see some of the athletes simply landing, seeing the current situation and heading back home.

I spoke previously about how I believed China was the only nation who would be able to turn the situation around in such a short time, but that was when there was two years to deal with the problem, not four weeks...we'll have to see.

In the meantime I have to write my talks for here which I only found out about a couple of days ago, and have some sleep to be catching up with too!


helensotiriadis said...

welcome back

Anonymous said...

Ahhhh Biscuit.

A very interesting read. I think I should be in Beijing in the 3rd week of August and can't say I'm particularly looking forward to the pollution. I think I'll be there for 3 days and should have some free time in the evening and maybe one of the days so please let me know some recommendations of places to eat and see.

Anonymous said...

This sounds really bad. Pollution is a major concern around the world, however getting it straight from the horses mouth so as to speak - tells me it is really serious over there.