Smoggy days like this used to be the norm for Beijing before the Olympic Games.
A Greenpeace-commissioned survey of more than 800 Beijing residents in early September shows that the government can be confident of strong public support for more stringent environmental policies. Over 90 percent of survey respondents said that they believed there was a marked improvement in the capital's environment. Around 90 percent attributed the positive changes to the government's combined long-term and short-term environmental measures for the Olympic Games. These measures included temporary industry closures, halting construction, car restrictions and the development of public transport networks.
"Our survey shows that an overwhelming number of Beijing residents welcomed the improvement to their environment because of the government's measures. These measures not only ensured that the Games went off smoothly for the athletes but also gave ordinary people a chance to enjoy clean air and blue skies," said Greenpeace Campaign Director Lo Sze Ping. "These measures should not be dropped after the Games are over. Beijing needs tighter policies to secure a long-term improvement in the city's environment. The Olympic Games can be the catalyst to a cleaner Beijing."
According to our survey, which was conducted by market research company Ipsos, the majority of respondents said they hoped the government would continue to expand and improve the city's public transportation network to help improve air quality. As a clear signal that Beijing residents are willing to sacrifice personal comforts for the benefit of the environment, just over one third of those respondents who owned a car license also said they would support the policy, employed during the Olympics, to extend the odd-even license plate restrictions on car use after the Games.
"Greenpeace believes that prioritising the development of public transportation and discouraging car use are the best long-term solutions to improving Beijing's air quality," added Lo.
Beijing has announced that it will consider public opinion when deciding how to proceed with environmental measures for the city post-Games.
"Greenpeace welcomes the government's move to listen to public debate on Beijing's environment. This is a clear signal that public opinion is beginning to rank higher when it comes to decision making," Lo said. "From the results of our survey, the government should be assured of strong public support for tougher environmental measures."
Greenpeace also strongly urges the central government to extend these environmental measures to all cities across the Mainland.
Sarah LIANG, Media Officer,
Greenpeace China, +86-10-65546931-123; +86-139 113 66639,
Lo Sze Ping, Campaign Director, ,
Greenpeace China, +86-10-65546931-186; +86 139 114 60873
Greenpeace stands for positive change through action to defend the natural world and promote peace. We are a non-profit organisation with a presence in 40 countries. To maintain its independence, Greenpeace does not accept donations from governments or corporations but relies on contributions from individual supporters and foundation grants. www.greenpeace.org.cn