Monday, July 28, 2008

Worst smog in a month hits Beijing as Olympic athletes leave it to the last minute to acclimatise to poor air

By Mail Foreign ServiceLast updated at 9:33 PM on 27th July 2008
With only 11 days to go until the start of the Beijing Olympics, this was the smoggy scene in the Chinese capital yesterday. Visibility was down to half a mile in some parts, including the National Stadium, while the Athletes' Village complex could not be seen from the nearby Olympic Green.
The city's notoriously polluted air has cast a cloud over the Games, with organisers threatening to postpone events if it is bad. City officials confidently - and possibly unwisely - predict that air quality will be good for the Games. Their efforts to curb pollution include taking half of Beijing's 3.3million vehicles off the roads and closing factories.
Haze: Pollution today in Beijing was at its worst for a month, but officials say air quality will be good by the time the Olympics start on August 8 The grayish haze was one of the worst seen in Beijing in the past month despite tough traffic restrictions imposed a week ago to help reduce pollution.
'The air quality in August will be good,' Du Shaozhong, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau, told reporters on Sunday. He did not explain the reasons for his optimism.
Du blamed the thick haze on a combination of fog and light wind unable to blow away the pollution, but he said pollution levels now are 20 per cent lower than one year ago in similar weather conditions. He did not provide any details. 'Our job is to decrease the pollution as much as possible, but sometimes it is very common to have fog in Beijing at this time,' Du said.

Pollution: Tough traffic restrictions have been in force since July 1 to improve the air quality in the Chinese capital, but athletes will be at the mercy of the winds
Olympic athletes have been trickling into Beijing, but are expected to begin arriving in larger numbers this week.
Some, though, were headed to training sites in South Korea, Japan and other places to avoid the Beijing air until the last possible minute.
'No, it doesn't really look so good. Yesterday was better but the day I arrived, Tuesday, was awful,' said Gunilla Lindberg, an International Olympic Committee vice president from Sweden who is staying in the Athletes' Village.
Jacques Rogge, president of the IOC, has warned that outdoor endurance events will be postponed if the air quality is poor.
Emma Says: FOG??? That's the best that they can come up with? As one of the most anticipated and celebrated sporting events I sincerely hope Bejing does not fall flat on it's face. Let's pray for clear skies and and miracle to lift the so-called "FOG".

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Me praying too.Beijing trip 4-27/8.Hope it will not cause me a lot of problem if me doing morning as usual..haha