Call this an unexpected result but it seems that Beijing's plans to reduce pollution by banning traffic according to the license plates have not proven satisfactory. According to the city's Environmental Protection Bureau, the skies remained hazy and the pollution levels actually increased.

A top Chinese official affirmed that the reason for this increase was the weather, which was very humid, and the high levels the city already had during the previous days. Nevertheless, the traffic flowed better during the restriction days (Friday to Monday).

However, the quality of the air is quite an interesting story. According to Beijing's Environmental Protection Bureau, the index of particulate matter went from 91 on Friday to 100 on Monday afternoon. On the other hand, Xinhua (the official press agency) affirmed that Moday's index was 95 compared to 116 on Thursday. Add the fact that the Communist Party is ordering to the local press to say how good the measure was and that it is unclear how this index is calculated.

Remember that the International Olympic Comittee is seriously concerned on how the pollution levels can affect the athletes competing in the upcoming 2008 Summer Games. I'm also concerned about the effects on the average citizen and the atmosphere that we all share. I think (and please take this as my sole opinion) that the measure, besides being insufficient for attacking a single pollution factor, was too short to have a real effect. What do you think?

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[Source: The Washington Post thanks to Phil]