Our sister city, Shanghai, is currently going through their own Olympic-style effort to clean the environment in preparation for next year’s Expo. And similarly with Beijing, these mega-events really are helping to clean things up. For example, here’s the executive summary from the recently published UNEP Shanghai Expo Assessment:
Air Quality: Shanghai’s rapid development in the last decade did not make air pollution worse. On the contrary, for the first time in the city’s history, economic development was made possible with the ambient concentration of air pollutants reduced or at least stabilized. The success of Shanghai in de-coupling growth with worsening pollution is considered. Recommendations are made on strengthening regional cooperation, improving monitoring standards and expanding the scope of monitoring air pollutants.
You can read the UNEP press release and download the PDF executive statement and full publications here. There’s also an excellent review at the blog Cleaner Greener China, which also excerpted an interesting UNEP graph below.
As with Beijing, the statistics are better but still far from ideal, and much work needs to be done to get their “blue sky days” to the levels that the WHO recommends. For example, as the graph below shows, in 2007 the average PM10 was a bit over 80; while that is better than Beijing, it is still higher than the WHO’s 2005 goals (a PM10 level of 20 µg/m3 annual mean, or 50 µg/m3 24-hour mean).
Follow me on: