Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Improved Air Quality During Beijing Olympics Could Inform Pollution-curbing Policies

Date:
August 5, 2009
Source:
Cornell University
Summary:
The air in Beijing during the 2008 Olympics was cleaner than the previous year's, due to aggressive efforts by the Chinese government to curtail traffic, increase emissions standards and halt construction in preparation for the games, according to a new study.

A view of northwest Beijing on a smoggy day (top) and on a clear day (bottom).
Credit: Image courtesy of Cornell University

The air in Beijing during the 2008 Olympics was cleaner than the previous year's, due to aggressive efforts by the Chinese government to curtail traffic, increase emissions standards and halt construction in preparation for the games, according to a Cornell study.

Related Articles


Led by Max Zhang, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, the study indicates that such measures as regulating traffic density and encouraging public transportation can have a significant impact on local air quality.

"We hope our study can help or advise local regulators and policymakers to adopt long-term sustainable emission controls to improve air quality," Zhang said. "That's our mission."

Published online July 11 in the journal Atmospheric Environment, the study was based on air quality readings before, during and after the Olympics. Leading up to the Olympics, the Chinese government barred more than 300,000 heavy-emission vehicles -- mostly trucks -- from the roads. The city also implemented rules in which only some people were allowed to drive on certain days based on their license plate numbers. As a result, close to 2 million vehicles were pulled from the roads. Other mandates involved halting construction and decreasing the use of coal in favor of natural gas for electricity.

In 2007 and 2008, the researchers collected air quality data from equipment installed at two elevations on a building in the heart of Beijing.

They also tracked emissions from vehicles in different areas of the city by following randomly selected cars and trucks in a minivan equipped with sensitive instruments for detecting carbon particles, including carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and black carbon, or soot.

Among the researchers' conclusions: Black carbon pollution is significantly greater at ground level than at higher elevations, and diesel trucks are a major source of black carbon emission during the summer in Beijing. These particles are not only harmful to the lungs, but are also known to be a global warming compound, Zhang said.

The researchers found that car emissions of black carbon were down 33 percent in 2008 compared with their 2007 readings. Carbon dioxide decreased 47 percent, and ultrafine carbon-based particles -- those that measure less than 100 nanometers -- decreased 78 percent.

The sharp drops were most likely due to a new emission standard implemented in Beijing in 2008, in which all new registered vehicles as well as gasoline and diesel fuel engines were required to achieve emissions standards equivalent to European Union regulations. A similar standard was mandated starting in June 2008 for 20,000 buses and 66,000 taxies. The improved fuel quality probably enhanced the performance of engines and catalytic converters, the researchers reported.

"We are showing what the city can do if they are determined to improve air quality," Zhang said.

The study, whose first author was graduate student Xing Wang, was funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Cornell's Jeffrey Sean Lehman Fund for Scholarly Exchange with China.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cornell University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cornell University. "Improved Air Quality During Beijing Olympics Could Inform Pollution-curbing Policies." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 August 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090724113548.htm>.
Cornell University. (2009, August 5). Improved Air Quality During Beijing Olympics Could Inform Pollution-curbing Policies. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090724113548.htm
Cornell University. "Improved Air Quality During Beijing Olympics Could Inform Pollution-curbing Policies." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090724113548.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) EU leaders achieve a show of unity by striking a compromise deal on carbon emissions. But David Cameron's bid to push back EU budget contributions gets a slap in the face as the European Commission demands an extra 2bn euros. David Pollard reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Tornado Rips Roofs in Washington State

Raw: Tornado Rips Roofs in Washington State

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) A rare tornado ripped roofs off buildings, uprooted trees and shattered windows Thursday afternoon in the southwest Washington city of Longview, but there were no reports of injuries. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fast-Moving Lava Headed For Town On Hawaii's Big Island

Fast-Moving Lava Headed For Town On Hawaii's Big Island

Newsy (Oct. 24, 2014) Lava from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island has accelerated as it travels toward a town called Pahoa. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins