For a certain period ahead of September 4, cars were banned and factories shut in Beijing in an attempt to lift the polluted cloud that by now permanently hangs over China’s capital city. Sadly, this was not done as a long-term environmental plan, but as a short-term move to ensure clear skies for a military parade to celebrate the Allied forces victory in WWII. For what a demonstration of power is worth when the whole world sees that you are suffocating in the smog you have created anyway?
So they partially shut the capital city down in the weeks leading up to the parade, starting around Aug. 20, including between 10,000 and 12,000 factories in Beijing and neighboring cities. That included nearly every steel mill in Beijing and the nearby cities of Hebei and Tianjin, which, according to theGuardian, accounted for about 6.6 million tons of lost production. 40,000 construction sites in and around Beijing also shut down for the duration. Finally, China took four out of five government vehicles in Beijing off the road, and only half of the five million private cars registered in Beijing were allowed to drive on any given day.
The result? The cleanest air on record, for eight days straight. Rather than the thick smog that usually hangs over the city, skies have become a remarkable shade of blue – so remarkable that Beijing residents and visitors having been sharing images of the city on Sina Weibo with the hashtage #ParadeBlue. Here are a few examples:
But the whole thing only lasted for a day…