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July 8, 2011

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Cool mists get cold reception

THE misty sprays of cooling water so praised at the World Expo site are failing to generate the same enthusiasm this summer as they are promoted in neighborhoods, Metro stations and popular scenic spots.

People are complaining that the sprays have hardly been used after being installed, and even when utilized, the effects are far from perfection, largely because the nozzles have been misplaced.

In the Anshan No. 4 Residential Area in Yangpu District, residents complained that the sprays didn't open on the hottest days, while the sprays at some tourist spots, such as the Oriental Pearl TV Tower and Yuyuan Garden, were not very effective.

The Yangpu residential area was the first neighborhood to install the sprays. Officials said the devices cost about 6 million yuan (US$857,140). Residents, however, said the spray didn't operate until they complained to the media.

"We were sweating under the sunshine, and sprays were there like decorations," said a resident surnamed Wu.

Li Xixiong, an official with the neighborhood committee, said the sprays were put in operation this week, but would not say why they didn't open last week amid hot weather.

In Yuyuan Garden, a city landmark, the sprays were activated on the Zigzag Bridge, but visitors didn't benefit because the nozzles were placed virtually under the bridge.

"It's the same hot on the bridge with that in other places," said Tan Peijing, a visitor from Guangdong Province. "I don't feel any difference."

Shanghai Daily found that near the spray devices, whose nozzles were installed at the edge of the bridge deck, the temperature was exactly the same as that under the bridge, reaching about 37 degrees Celsius.

The temperature was 2 degrees higher than under the shade of nearby trees.

Garden officials said they expected the spray devices to lower the temperature by only 1 degree, so people may not feel much difference in extremely scorching weather. Officials also complained that installing the devices cost them "much fund and energy."

The same problems hit Metro line stations, where staff members found the sprays "having no use."

The sprays are set up about 5 meters above passengers on the platform, too far to have much impact.

Chen Wen, a subway engineer, said sometimes winds will blow away the mist, rendering them much less effective.

Last year at the Expo site, the sprays received widespread praise because they lowered people's body temperature by at least 6 degrees.

Lu Jinquan, deputy director of the Facility and Environment Management Department for the Expo Bureau, said "flaws in design" are now causing the problems outside the Expo site.

"Take Yuyuan Garden, for example," Lu said. "The sprays were installed at the edge of the bridge decks so the water was sprayed into the lake rather than in the air."


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