【英语中国】北京禁放烟花的难题 Beijing says neigh to fireworks as Year of The Horse begins

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所属分类:双语中国

2014-1-31 08:50

小艾摘要: Mindful of its reputation for polluted skies, the Beijing city government is trying to rein in fireworks if they contribute to severe smog during the forthcoming lunar new year.It’s a tall order for ...
Beijing says neigh to fireworks as Year of The Horse begins
Mindful of its reputation for polluted skies, the Beijing city government is trying to rein in fireworks if they contribute to severe smog during the forthcoming lunar new year.

It’s a tall order for a city that joyfully lights up the sky with explosions to ring in the new year and where a set of 19 “Wind of China” skyrockets that explode 10 metres into the air can be bought at street stalls for 38 yuan ($6.30).

But choking pollution along the North China plain has tarnished Beijing’s image, with episodes such as the 2013 “airpocalypse” making headlines around the world. Across China, the newfound ability to monitor hourly air quality updates on cell phones has made people much more conscious of the quality of the air they breathe.

“To maintain good air quality and build a Beautiful Beijing together, we suggest you set off fewer fireworks or don’t set them off at all. If the air pollution reaches the orange or red level, fireworks are forbidden. Thank you for your understanding, support and co-operation,” read a message from the city government sent to millions of cell phones in the city. Fireworks could be heard sputtering in the chilly evening even as the message went out.

Millions of firecrackers, Roman Candles and skyrockets build up to a crescendo of bangs and roars at midnight on Lunar New Year’s eve, which falls on Thursday this year. Pollution spiked well beyond hazardous levels and visibility dropped to nearly zero during a foggy New Year’s eve in Beijing two years ago.

Many Chinese cities forbade fireworks altogether in the 1990s, but dropped the prohibition after historic residential neighbourhoods were bulldozed for massive urban development schemes, leaving concrete skyscrapers that are far less likely to catch fire. Nonetheless, firecrackers usually cause dozens of fires and injuries nationwide at new year. Most famously, a building attached to the CCTV tower in the centre of Beijing was gutted at the end of the New Year holiday in 2009, thanks to a display of powerful fireworks set off by the state television broadcaster.

Attendants at a stall in the centre of Beijing assured the Financial Times on Wednesday that their fireworks were “certified less polluting”, but scoffed at the idea that sales would suffer. “Setting off fireworks for new year is a Chinese tradition. We invented them, in the Song Dynasty,” said one salesman, before recommending a box of 120 chrysanthemum-type rockets for a mere 1,080 yuan ($180).

In the autumn, the Chinese government released a national pollution plan that calls for less coal use near bigger and wealthier population centres such as Beijing, the Pearl River Delta and the Yangtze Delta, but also encourages more coal projects in the arid west. The city of Beijing has gone a step further with measures to control car use and close schools if pollution exceeds limits for several days running.

“You have pollution even if you don’t have fireworks,” said fireworks salesman Wang Li, before rattling off the causes of Chinese air pollution, such as car exhaust, carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide emissions from heavy industry and power plants, and the charcoal briquettes used to heat homes in poor neighbourhoods. “Maybe some environmentalists won’t set them off themselves but they will still enjoy watching everyone else’s.”

顾忌空气污染名声的北京市政府正试图禁止燃放烟花爆竹——如果它们在即将到来的农历新年加剧严重的空气污染。

这是一个艰巨的任务,因为北京市民通常以燃放烟花爆竹欢庆新年,而一套19个可窜升到10米空中的“中国风”冲天炮,在路边售卖点用38元人民币(合6.30美元)就可买到。

但是,华北平原呛人的污染正在损害北京的形象,2013年期间经历的“空气末日”(airpocalypse)成为世界各地的头条新闻。在中国各地,在手机上检查每小时更新的空气质量的新能力,也使人们对自己呼吸的空气的质量更加关注。

北京市政府向该市数百万手机发出的信息称:“为保持良好空气质量,共建美丽北京,建议您减少燃放或不燃放烟花爆竹。遇到空气重污染橙色、红色预警时,禁止燃放。感谢您的理解支持和配合。”即便在市政府发送信息之际,寒冷的夜晚仍可听到烟花燃放的声音。

在农历除夕的午夜,数以百万计的鞭炮、吐珠烟花和冲天炮通常会形成一波强过一波的声浪,烘托出一个壮观的场面。今年的除夕落在本周四。两年前的除夕,雾中的北京空气污染远远超出危险门槛,能见度跌至接近于零。

中国许多城市在上世纪90年代完全禁止燃放烟花爆竹,但在具有历史底蕴的住宅区被推土机夷为平地、为大规模城市开发项目让路之后,大量不易着火的混凝土摩天大楼拔地而起,针对烟花爆竹的禁令随之撤销。尽管如此,鞭炮通常会在春节期间在全国各地造成数十起火灾和受伤事件。最出名的是,2009年春节假期结束之际,地处北京市中心的中央电视台(CCTV)主体建筑的北侧配楼着火,而起火原因正是这家官方电视台大量燃放烟花。

北京市中心一个售卖点的服务员周三向英国《金融时报》记者保证,其销售的烟花“经认证污染程度较低”,但对销售将受到影响的想法不屑一顾。“春节燃放烟花是中国人的传统。我们发明了烟花,那是在宋朝,”一名推销员表示。随后他建议记者购买一盒120支的菊花型烟花,价格“只需”1080元人民币(合180美元)。

去年秋季,中国政府发布了一份国家污染治理计划,要求在较大和较富裕的人口中心——如北京、珠江三角洲和长江三角洲——减少使用煤炭,同时鼓励在干旱的西部上马更多煤炭项目。北京市更进一步,决定在污染连续数天超标的情况下限制汽车上路,并关闭学校。

“即使没有烟花你也会有污染,”烟花爆竹推销员王立(音)表示。随后他罗列了中国空气污染的原因,如汽车尾气,来自重工业和发电厂的二氧化碳和二氧化硫排放,以及贫穷居民区的居民在家里烧煤球供暖。“也许有些环保人士不会自己燃放烟花爆竹,但他们还是会从别人燃放的烟花爆竹中得到享受。”

译者/和风

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