China – January 7th, 2013
A thick, greyish-yellow haze hangs over northeastern China, covering Beijing and hanging over much of the Bohai Sea. The haze is likely smog from to air pollution. Joint research between American and Chinese researchers in 2006 concluded that much of the city’s pollution comes from surrounding cities and provinces. On average 35–60% of the ozone can be traced to sources outside the city.
The government regularly uses cloud-seeding measures to increase the likelihood of rain showers in the region to clear the air prior to large events as well as to combat drought conditions in the area.
In preparation for the 2008 Summer Olympics and to fulfill promises to clean up the city’s air, nearly 17 billion USD was spent. Beijing also implemented a number of air improvement schemes for the duration of the Games, including stopping work on all construction sites, closing many factories in and around Beijing, closing some gas stations, and cutting motor traffic by half by limiting drivers to odd or even days. Since the games, there has been a lighter restriction on daily car use, and the government has banned the use of cars that do not meet certain emission levels.