Thursday, February 14, 2008

Pollution threatening Beijing Olympics

Days after Jacques Rogge, the IOC president, commented on how there may be up to 2 day delays in some events at the 2008 Olympics beginning next August, Beijing’s highways were closed as visibility was reduced to 50m in areas after smog engulfed the city.

The Beijing organizers of the games insist that pollution will be curbed by shutting down factories before and during the games, and banning the use of cars. China recently held a voluntary ‘no-car day’ of which Beijing was a participant gaining mild success.

Experts note how the effects of dumping cars go beyond pollution preventing and energy conservation—it actually saves millions of Yuan spent on petrol.

Beijing is moving thousands of homes heating systems from coal to gas but spectators still speculate whether it will be enough. With the Olympics timetable being so confined (8th—24th August), and so many events at stake, pollution could seriously hinder whether the games is viewed as a success - something China is adamant to prove it can do.


Robert Iddiols said...

At least the Chinese government appear intent on actively confronting the problem. Half of a solution is the ability to admit there is a problem at all. What's more pressing, and dangerous to the athletes, are the lengths the Chinese government will take to advantage their own athletes - for instance, doctoring the food supplies, mass buying progress-orientated sports equipment, etc. Does it not seem strange, however, that they have done nothing until now about the pollution even though they knew the bid was secured over six years ago? Surely this is merely shallow political demonstration.

James Poulter said...

Yes at least the Chinese government do acknowledge the situation isn't perfect, but as you note this is in the least partly just a shadow cast as a political necessity.

Your comment about doctoring food supplies - I hope this is not in reference to the recent quality problems in produce from China as the last I heard there were puncture holes in all dangerous samples - sabotage. However I feel it could be a comment about engineering better food for the atheletes? Please expand as I am ignorant.

I don't even see why the Chinese bother trying to solve the pollution even now - I mean why would they? Their athletes have been living, breathing and training in it for years. They are all quite used to the pollution and would probably choke on the clean air you train in!

Last I heard western athletes were chasing the bus to training (as opposed to riding it) to get used to the fumes.