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北京的雾霾和9年前《纽约时报》对我的采访

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  • TA的每日心情
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    2017-10-10 14:12
  • 签到天数: 2 天

    [LV.1]初来乍到

    发表于 2017-1-5 15:49 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
    本帖最后由 johnxu 于 2017-1-5 17:02 编辑

    进入冬季以来,北京和中国的大面积持续雾霾天气使中华民族到了最危险的时候。无意中我从我的文件库里发现了九年前北京奥运会前,美国《纽约时报》记者关于北京的空气污染对我的一次采访的文章。文章采访了国际奥委会官员、北京市长、北京环保部门官员、清华大学的学者、北京市民等,表达了对北京空气污染的强烈关切。文章结尾以我作为一个轮滑者的看法作了结尾。现在回过头来,看看我当时的想法,真觉得自己可笑,9年前就买了防毒口罩,却不愿意戴,怕影响奥运前北京的形象,怕人误解为对政府不满。哈哈!

    下面是文章的全文,结尾红色字体是对我的采访。

    Beijing’s Olympic Quest: Turn Smoggy SkyBlue
    BEIJING — Every day, monitoring stations across the city measure airpollution to determine if the skies above this national capital can officiallybe designated blue. It is not an act of whimsy: with Beijing preparing to play host to the 2008Olympic Games, the official Blue Sky ratings are the city’s own measuring stickfor how well it is cleaning up its polluted air.
    Thursday did not bring good news. The gray,acrid skies rated an eye-reddening 421 on a scale of 500, with 500 being theworst. Friday rated 500. Both days far exceeded pollution levels deemed safe bythe World Health Organization. In Beijing,officials warned residents to stay indoors until Saturday, but residents hereare accustomed to breathing foul air. One man flew a kite in Tiananmen Square.

    For Beijingofficials, Thursday was especially depressing because the city was hoping tocelebrate an environmental victory. In recent years, Beijing has steadily increased its Blue Skydays. The city needs one more, defined as scoring below 101, to reach its goalof 245 Blue Sky days this year. These improving ratings are how Beijing hopes to reassurethe world that Olympic athletes will not be gasping for breath next August.

    We’redefinitely hoping for the best,” said Jon Kolb, a member of the CanadianOlympic Committee, “but preparing for the worst.”

    For the world’s Olympians, Beijing’s air is a performance issue. Theconcern is that respiratory problems could impede athletic performance andprevent records from being broken. For the city’s estimated 12 millionresidents, pollution is an inescapable health and quality-of-life issue.Skepticism about the validity of the Blue Sky ratings is common. Moreover, theconcern is whether the city can clean itself up long after the Games are over.

    Beijing has long ranked as one of the world’s most polluted cities. To winthe Games, Beijingpromised a “Green Olympics” and undertook environmental initiatives nowconsidered models for the rest of the country. But greening Beijing has not meant slowing it down.Officials also have encouraged an astonishing urbanization boom that has madeenvironmental gains seem modest, if not illusory.

    Beijing is like an athlete trying to get into shape by walking on atreadmill yet eating double cheeseburgers at the same time. Polluting factorieshave been moved or closed. But auto emissions are rising as the city adds up to1,200 new cars and trucks every day. Dirty, coal-burning furnaces have beenreplaced, lowering the city’s sulfur dioxide emissions. But fine-particlepollution has been exacerbated by a staggering citywide construction binge thatshows no signs of letting up.

    China’sunsolved riddle is how to reconcile fast economic growth with environmentalprotection. But Beijing’sOlympic deadline means the city needs an immediate answer. The ruling CommunistParty envisions the Games as a public relations showcase and is leaving nodetail untended. Scientists are cross-breeding chrysanthemums to ensure thatflowers bloom in August.

    Now Beijingis also going to try to manipulate air quality. For months, scientists havetreated the city like a laboratory, testing wind patterns and atmosphericstructure, while pinpointing local and regional pollution sources. Olympicscontingency plans have been approved for Beijingand surrounding provinces. Details are not public, but officials have discussedshutting down factories and restricting traffic during the Games.

    We aredetermined to ensure that the air conditions meet the necessary standards inAugust 2008,” Liu Qi, president of the Beijing Organizing Committee for theGames, told the International Olympic Committee’s executive board this month.

    Beijing residents overwhelmingly support the Games and take for grantedthat officials will do what is necessary to ensure clean air. Last August, thecity removed a million cars from roads during a four-day test intended to gaugepollution and traffic. But people also know that any emergency measures have alimited shelf life.

    Yes, I heardabout it,” said an engineer at one factory that may temporarily be shut down.He refused to identify himself because he was criticizing government policy.“It is like you invite some guests to your home, and hide all your childrenunderneath the bed to make the house look nicer. If all the polluting factoriesare shut down for the Olympics, there will be a major pollution outbreakafterward when all the factories restart, right?”

    Beijing officials say the Olympics will have a lasting and positive environmentallegacy on the city. International Olympic Committee officials acknowledge thatair quality remains a problem, but they say the air would be far worse withoutimprovements made for the Games. “The general trend is improvement,” said SimonBalderstone, an environmental adviser for the I.O.C.

    But pollution is expected to remain amajor, long-term challenge as Beijing’spopulation may eventually exceed 20 million people. Scientists also say thecity will never be able to clean itself up if surrounding industrial provincesare not cleaned up, too.

    Blue skies, in other words, will remain achallenge.

    Growth Offsets Gains

    In July 2001, Beijing won the right to serve as the host ofthe 2008 Games, a victory that carried a touch of vindication. Eight yearsearlier, the International Olympic Committee had rejected Beijing’s first bid for a variety of reasons,including the city’s polluted environment.

    This time, Beijing organizers promised a “GreenOlympics.”

    Beijing hascome a long way since its last bid in 1993,” said Wang Wei, a senior BeijingOlympics official, speaking at the city’s final Olympic presentation in Moscowin 2001. “The city has taken giant steps to fight pollution caused byindustrialization and economic growth.”

    Beijing’s environmental program had begun in 1997 and became thecenterpiece of the city’s Olympic environmental commitments. Urban sewagetreatment has doubled since 2001. Use of natural gas has jumped 38-fold as cityofficials have converted thousands of dirty coal-fired furnaces and boilers.Factories have been shut down or relocated to the suburbs. Millions of treeshave been planted.

    For manyyears, the city had few environmental rules,” said Mr. Balderstone, the I.O.C.environmental adviser, who regularly consults with Beijing officials. “It’s like they areplaying catch-up on a lot of these measures.”

    But Beijing’sOlympic bid also intensified a stunning urban boom. Since 2000, Beijing’s gross domestic product has jumped 144 percent,according to BeijingOlympic officials. New office buildings and apartment towers seem to rise everyweek. More than 1.7 billion square feet of new construction has been startedsince 2002, most of it unrelated to the Olympics.

    Cleaner Coal, but More of It

    The emerging cityscape is often dazzling,but also energy intensive and polluting. Beijingnow requires factories and power plants to burn cleaner, low-sulfur coal, butit had also hoped to reduce overall coal consumption in the years before theOlympics. Instead, the city’s coal consumption peaked at 30 million tons lastyear. Beijingalso has only one office tower that qualifies under international and nationalenergy efficiency standards as a green building. Construction, meanwhile, isexpected to continue at a rapid pace.

    I think therewill be another 20 to 30 years of urbanization,” said Wu Weijia, a professor atTsinghua University’s Institute of Urban Studies. “The scale of construction inBeijing willnot slow down after the Olympics.”

    Meanwhile, an explosion of car ownershiphas wrought gridlocked traffic and a halo of auto fumes. Beijing now has more than three millionvehicles and is adding more than 400,000 new cars and trucks each year. Thecity’s reliance on cars and trucks leaves its air with few reprieves. As in otherChinese cities, heavy trucks can only enter at night. Diesel exhaust is sosevere that Beijing’slevels of PM 2.5, a tiny particulate deemed potentially harmful to health, ishighest between midnight and 3 a.m.,according to one survey.

    Beijing is fighting auto pollution by instituting China’s highestvehicle emissions standards. Nearly 79,000 new taxis with lower emissions havereplaced older, outdated models. But Beijing hasbeen unwilling to discourage private car ownership by instituting exorbitantfees as Shanghaihas done. Depending on the car, license plates in Shanghaican cost as much as $7,000; as a result, Shanghaiadds about one-fourth as many cars per year as Beijing.

    Beijing’s problems are compounded because its public transportation systemwas neglected for years. Now, the city is expanding subway lines and finishinga rail line from the airport to downtown, but car ownership is expected to keeprising.

    If youdiscourage people from having a car, the public transportation system would beoverburdened,” said Mr. Wu, the Tsinghua professor.


    Taking Pollution’s Measure

    Mr. Kolb, the Canadian Olympic official,spent much of August in Beijingtrying to answer the question hanging over the city as the Games approach: Hasair quality actually improved?

    An environmental physiologist, Mr. Kolbvisited several stadiums, and sneaked into a few others, to measure pollutionwith a small monitoring device. On Aug. 5, his measurement of fine particlespollution, or PM 10, reached 200, roughly four times above the level deemedsafe by the World Health Organization.

    We’reworried,” Mr. Kolb said. Of Beijingair pollution, he added: “There’s no doubt about it. It’s off the charts.”

    A decade ago, Beijing introduced the Blue Sky program tomeasure sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and PM 10. Under the system, monitorstake regular readings of each pollutant and then calculate a 24-hour averagefor each. The daily Blue Sky rating is determined by whichever pollutant hasthe highest 24-hour average.

    For China’s authoritarian government,the system represented a breakthrough. But it is less stringent thanair-quality indexes in the United  States. Indeed, a day that rates “good” in Beijing would usually be rated polluted in the United States.

    In 1998, Beijing recorded only 100 Blue Sky days. Eachensuing year, the city has improved the number until reaching the current 244and pending. Cleaner coal has helped reduce sulfur dioxide by 25 percent since2001. Nitrogen dioxide is also down. But Beijing’sbiggest problem is PM 10 and other particulates, which are attributed toconstruction, industry and cars.

    Average daily levels of PM 10 exceednational and W.H.O. standards. In 2004, the concentration of airborneparticulates in Beijing equaled that of New York, Los Angeles, Washington, Chicago and Atlanta combined, according to the United States Embassyin Beijing.Earlier this year, a report by the United Nations Environment Program concludedthat “air pollution is still the single largest environmental and public healthissue affecting the city.”

    Particularlyworrying are the levels of small particulate matter (PM 10) in the atmosphere,which is severely deleterious to public health,” the report stated.

    The Blue Sky system sets a maximum ratingof 500, meaning that on the worst days the actual pollution level could be evenhigher. “Good” air in Beijingis any Blue Sky rating below 101. But even good air is often not very good;this year, Beijinghas had 65 days that rated between 95 and 100. That bulge just inside the breakpoint has attracted attention on Web sites and even at one foreign embassy,which compiled a statistical analysis casting doubt on the Blue Sky results,though the embassy’s officials refuse to discuss the findings.

    Du Shaozhong, deputy director of Beijing’s EnvironmentalProtection Bureau, said the ratings were not manipulated. “People used to askme if the ratings are scientific, or if we are playing any tricks,” Mr. Dusaid. “But this is most advanced equipment in the world.”

    Mr. Kolb said Olympic athletes were worriedabout ozone, which can inflame the respiratory tract and make it more difficultto breathe. But Beijing’smonitoring system does not measure ozone, nor does it measure the finerparticulates known as PM 2.5.

    This year, a team of Chinese and Americanscientists analyzed air quality issues for the Olympics and found thatBeijing’s daily concentrations of PM 2.5 rated anywhere from 50 percent to 200percent higher than American standards. Their study, published in the journalAtmospheric Environment, also found that ozone regularly exceeded levels deemedsafe by American standards.

    Studies are under way to assess the healthimpact of pollution in Beijing.One 2003 study warned that air pollution could be a major contributor topremature deaths related to chronic pulmonary disease, especially in thewinter. Another study showed that visits to hospital emergency rooms rose ondays with higher pollution levels.

    On a recent afternoon at Beijing Hospital,Dr. Li Yi, a respiratory specialist, said he now saw 50 patients a day forrespiratory problems compared with about half that a decade ago. He said asthmacases had increased sharply, as had the number of patients withnonsmoking-related lung cancer.

    You can’t saythat pollution is the only reason,” Dr. Li said. “But nonsmoking-related lungcancer is now increasing more quickly.”

    Beyond the Olympics

    In August, Beijing marked the one-yearcountdown to the Games with a celebration at Tiananmen Square and several testcompetitions at different sites. Jacques Rogge, president of the I.O.C.,applauded Beijing’spreparations, but also cautioned that pollution might force the postponement ofsome endurance sports.

    Hu Fei, director of the Institute of Atmosphere Physics in Beijing,said any concern was misplaced. “Don’t worry about the Olympics,” Mr. Hu said,expressing confidence that contingency plans would produce clean air for theGames. “We need to be concerned about the long term.”

    Mr. Hu said finding a long-term fix is difficultbecause of Beijing’sgeography. Surrounded by mountains on three sides, Beijing depends on strong winds to dispersepollution. Yet winds also draw pollution into the city. The study inAtmospheric Environment estimated that as much as 60 percent of ozone detectedat the National Stadium could be traced to outside provinces.

    Beijing is apollution source itself, and it is surrounded by other pollution sources,” Mr.Hu said. “When you have wind, it brings in pollution from other sources. Whenyou don’t have wind, the local pollution cannot disperse.”

    Xu Jianping, 55, abusiness consultant, does not need to be told that Beijing is overrun with carsand construction. He is an avid in-line skater who enjoyed skating to workuntil pollution left him spitting out black phlegm. He went online and ordereda gas mask.
    But I don’t want to wear it,” said Mr. Xu, fearing his mask would be misinterpreted as a protest against the Olympics. “It would hurtChina’s image.”
    So until the Games areover, Mr. Xu is taking the bus to the office. He plans to vacation outside thecity during the Games. Then, when life in Beijing returns to normal, he plansto resume skating to work — with his mask, if necessary.

    这段文字的大概意思是55岁的徐先生从事商务咨询工作,他原来都是用轮滑当交通工具上下班,直到北京的空气污染让他直吐黑痰,他才改为乘公交巴士上班。他上网定购了一个防毒面具但却不太愿意戴,怕被误解为因空气污染而反对北京办奥运,怕影响中国的国际形象。待奥运结束后,如果空气改善,他可能恢复轮滑上班,如果空气继续恶化,他就戴上防毒面具。



    该用户从未签到

    发表于 2017-1-5 21:24 | 显示全部楼层
    徐老师,您买防毒口罩那年,还在刷盟网上发了个帖子,好像题目是‘刷街必备的新装备’,在您的影响下,那年我也买了一个,像防毒面具似的口罩。我昨天又把它找出来了,试了一下,有点儿味儿,可能是炭味吧,呵呵。
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    该用户从未签到

    发表于 2017-1-10 09:38 | 显示全部楼层
    您的故事可真多~~
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  • TA的每日心情
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    2017-11-18 11:43
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    [LV.7]以坛为家

    发表于 2017-1-10 23:40 | 显示全部楼层
    徐老师,现在北京的空气情况,应该比2008年更加恶劣吧?
    中国大陆现在基本都成为雾都,哪里都无一幸免。

    点评

    现在北京的空气质量比208年恶劣多了。  详情 回复 发表于 2017-1-16 09:56
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  • TA的每日心情
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    2017-10-10 14:12
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    [LV.1]初来乍到

     楼主| 发表于 2017-1-16 09:56 | 显示全部楼层
    轮滑风 发表于 2017-1-10 23:40
    徐老师,现在北京的空气情况,应该比2008年更加恶劣吧?
    中国大陆现在基本都成为雾都,哪里都无一幸免。

    现在北京的空气质量比208年恶劣多了。
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  • TA的每日心情
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    2017-10-20 02:02
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    [LV.1]初来乍到

    发表于 2017-10-23 16:11 | 显示全部楼层
    故事好多啊 哈哈
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