Resident documents Beijing skyline for past five years
By Xu Xinchen
This winter may turn out to be Beijing's cleanest in five years, and according to the latest data from the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau, the city was able to reduce the number of heavily polluted days by more than half from 2013 to 2017. The average PM 2.5 dropped by 20% in that period. 
Zou Yi (R) talks to CGTN Reporter (L)./CGTN Photo‍

Zou Yi (R) talks to CGTN Reporter (L)./CGTN Photo‍

Apart from official data, one Beijinger has documented the changes to Beijing's skyline in his own way. Zou Yi started to add one more thing to his daily routine in 2013 – taking photos through his apartment window every day. For the past five years, Zou took thousands of photos and he shares these photos on the Internet for millions to see. 
“The heavy smog affects me too much. I don't know how it happened and how we can react,” said Zou. 
Zou’s collage records 2017 skyline in Beijing /CGTN Photo

Zou’s collage records 2017 skyline in Beijing /CGTN Photo

People from many walks of life joined him. Zou sits down with them in every January and shows his yearly discoveries. Some said that they witnessed Zou change from being a complainer to being an actual contributor who could help change the environment. 
“Environmental activists can help raise awareness in society, but government efforts are still needed to finally resolve the problems,” said Tang Xinying, an environmental protection activist like Zou. 
Zou Yi is currently trying to expand his mission and he has received help from other volunteers. His photos have been digitized and analyzed to create a model that can tell the presence of smog by simply taking a picture. 
As the real cause behind smog is still unclear, experts caution that Beijing needs to maintain control in the long term and that environmental protection requires more than just bringing blue skies back.