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Go green before it's too late

Updated: 2013-01-24 07:22
( China Daily)

Beijing residents hoped to see clear blue skies after Sunday's snowfall. Monday morning held promise and people thought that Beijing would be spared another round of high (rather hazardous) pollution level this winter.

But Tuesday proved them wrong. The Beijing air was thick with suspended particulates by the evening, which seemed an ominous sign for the week ahead.

China became the talking point across the world for the wrong reason just a few days ago because of the smog and pollution levels in a large part of the country. And it seems we are set to suffer another spell of high pollution in the days ahead.

Beijing residents are praying for strong winds to blow away the smog from the atmosphere. True, strong winds can bring relief for Beijingers. But they will not solve the pollution problem of the country. At best, the winds will carry the suspended particulates to a neighboring place, Hebei province or Tianjin municipality, for example.

Hebei is already experiencing high pollution levels. Thick smog and low visibility forced the cancellation of many flights from Shijiazhuang, the provincial capital, and closure of 22 of the 27 expressways on Tuesday. Can we imagine what will happen if strong winds blow more suspended particulates from Beijing to Hebei?

This winter has been the coldest in decades in China and is partly responsible for the thick smog enveloping parts of the country.

But again wild weather fluctuations can be blamed on climate change, and climate change is directly related to environmental pollution. The only permanent solution to the smog problem is to shift from fossil fuels to clean and renewable energy.

The government has indeed taken measures to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. But it has to expedite its efforts and restore the environment before it is too late.

John-ee, via e-mail

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(China Daily 01/24/2013 page9)