Rebirth and Reunion: Beijing Sees Cleanest Lunar New Year Air Amid Olympics-Related Fireworks Ban
© AP Photo / Ng Han GuanChildren wearing masks pose for photos near Tiger sculptures on the first day of the Chinese Lunar Year of the Tiger in Beijing, China,
© AP Photo / Ng Han Guan
China and the Asian diaspora rang in the Lunar New Year on Tuesday, February 1, 2022, marking the end of the Year of the Ox and the beginning of the Year of the Tiger. The tiger—one of 12 zodiac animals—represents strength, courage, and bravery, and those born in the tiger years are said to be brave, passionate, and eager to take a new challenge.
On Tuesday, nearly 2 billion individuals worldwide celebrated Chinese New Year—also known as the Spring Festival in China—observing a traditional time to honor ones' ancestors and deities with street parades and other reunions.
While fireworks are typically fired off to ward off evil spirits during these ancestral reunions, those in Beijing were subject to a full ban on fireworks ahead of the Winter Olympics.
Check it out! The 9th feature film of #Beijing2022 #WinterOlympics "Reunite in Beijing" was released on Monday - Lunar New Year's Eve! pic.twitter.com/vKn6laskMT— libijian李碧建 (@libijian2) February 1, 2022
Zhangjiakou, a city co-hosting the Winter Olympics, also introduced limitations on the selling and igniting of firecrackers and other fireworks.
The move sullied a decades-old Lunar New Year tradition for the capital city, according to the Beijinger. Retail has also been suspended during Spring Festival 2022.
The sole exemption was granted to Universal Studios Beijing, which has been permitted to hold a display during the holiday.
© REUTERS / TINGSHU WANGPeople walk at a hutong alley decorated with lanterns ahead of the Chinese Lunar New Year, in Beijing, China January 29, 2022.
People walk at a hutong alley decorated with lanterns ahead of the Chinese Lunar New Year, in Beijing, China January 29, 2022.
© REUTERS / TINGSHU WANG
While fireworks didn't accompany Chinese New Year, the negative situation had a positive impact on the city's air quality, according to Beijing Municipal Ecology and Environment Bureau.
The group revealed in a Tuesday statement that Beijing recorded its cleanest air for a Chinese New Year since the bureau first started monitoring air pollutants.
On Monday, the average concentration of air pollutants in Beijing stood at approximately five micrograms per cubic metre, compared to the average 289 micrograms recorded in Beijing during last year's Chinese New Year.