Beijing Cleans Up for the Olympics

The eyes of the world are preparing to focus on Beijing, China for the 2008 Summer Olympics. As a result, the capital city is sprucing itself up for its visitors. In hosting the 29th Olympiad, this is a turning point for the host city as China ushers in a new era of prosperity. The city went through a huge face lift and some of the basic comforts that westerners take for granted were implemented.

Clean Air

One of the main criticism when Beijing was selected as the 2008 host city was the chronic pollution it suffers from factories and vehicles. It is a huge concern for the athletes to compete at their optimum best while in a blanket of suffocating smog. There are contingency plans for outdoor sporting events requiring high endurance if the air doesn’t clear up as a precaution for the health of the athletes. Listening to the concerns, Beijing is taking drastic measures to clean up its act before the athletes descend on the city. Factories as far away as 100 kilometres from the city have closed for the Olympic Games. Moreover, traffic and pollution derived from 3.3 million vehicles has been reduced in half as drivers are only allowed to take their vehicles out on alternating days, depending on the last digit of their license plates being odd or even. The vehicular traffic from other cities entering Beijing has also been restricted.

It remains to be seen if these measures to clean up the air will be effective for Beijing. A lot also depends on the weather if the stagnant air will be trapped over the city or if a cold front will push the grey polluted skies away. In any event, Beijing has been pulling out all the stops and fully utilizing its 20 billion dollar anti-pollution budget to combat the issue.

Clean Washrooms

Beijing also took huge steps in improving its image of a modern city by cleaning up the public washrooms. Prior to awarding the Olympic Games to Beijing, the state of the public toilets in the city amounted to little more than filthy squat toilets. But 57 million dollars and 5,333 toilets later, the program to upgrade the washrooms has been successful in improving the washrooms to more sanitary acceptable standards.

In the modernization of Beijing to host an Olympic Games, the city has greatly benefited from its long overdue clean-up. Moreover, the city will also inherit world class infrastructure of buildings and sports facilities for the enjoyment of its citizens for the years to come.

Mariam Ma is a freelance writer for Olympic Blvd. Get your Beijing Olympic FUWA doll mascots here and other Beijing Olympic FUWA souvenirs.

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