Beijing banned cars for 2 weeks and the sky turned crystal blue. But guess what happened the next day?

When China celebrated the 70th anniversary of its victory during World War II, it did not hold back on the festivities.

China marked Japan’s defeat all those years ago with a very elaborate military show on September 3, 2015.

It was the largest parade ever held in Bejing but what brought the thousands of people out onto the streets wasn’t just the celebration but a rare sighting — beautiful blue skies. It was the result of drastic action authorities took to ensure the perfect blue backdrop for the special occasion.

The celebration included 12,000 troops in 50 different military formations, together with hundreds of fighter aircraft. Veterans and soldiers between the ages of 20 and 100 years old participated in the show.

The training for the parade was also extensive and several officers said they lost excessive amounts of weight as a result of the tough exercises before the parade.

Wikipedia Commons / William Ide

A parade of this size takes months, sometimes even years, of preparation. As far as the victory parade in Beijing 2015 was concerned, many restrictions were imposed before the celebrations took place.

Hundreds of factories were shut during this time, while half of Beijing’s five million registered cars were banned from the streets.

On the morning of the parade, the air quality index (AQI) dropped to an impressive 17 out of 500, signifying very healthy air. The twinkling blue skies enticed residents to step outside and marvel at its beauty.

Wikipedia Commons / William Ide

What happened the next day

The day after Victory Parade, the authorities announced that all cars could return to the roads. The air pollution index in parts of the city quickly returned to a very unhealthy level of 160 out of 500.

It took less than 24 hours before the sky was filled with nasty and dangerous smog, according to CNN. Want to see the difference?

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Here is Beijing during the Victory Day parade in September 2015:

Wikipedia Commons / 維基小霸王 

As you can see, the sky is clear blue …

Wikipedia Commons / William Ide

This was how Beijing looked a few weeks later.

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The sky returned to gray and bleak, but the future does not have to look as dark. What happened before the Victory Day parade shows that a change is still possible.

Air pollution is bad. Carbon dioxide emissions are bad. Cars are bad. We’ve all heard this before. But we may not have realized how much power we have to change things.

What happened in Beijing shows us how we can change the environment for the better. By banning cars and other emissions in just two weeks, Beijing underwent a beautiful and healthy conversion.

Wikipedia Commons / William Ide

Congratulations, China has now also realized that something has to be done. Among other things, the authorities have declared “war” against severe air pollution in some Chinese metropolitan areas which affects more than one and a half million people each year.

We can actually act to improve the climate and save our planet, we have greater power than you might think. This is something to think about next time you sit behind the wheel of your car. Ask yourself if you could have walked to your destination instead.

Hopefully, we can guarantee the future of blue skies if more of us cycled or used public transport – just a few times a week.

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