Countdown, air pollution, outdoor event
The clock has just begun ticking on the countdown for the 2008 Olympics with a huge show at Tiananmen Square.
Preparations are underway to host the millions who would participate at the event, everything planned to the minutest detail.
However, the variable which cannot be controlled is air quality. China’s air pollution count is very high. The Wall Street Journal reports that International Olympic President Jacques Rogge said some events at next year’s Beijing Olympics could be postponed if the city’s air quality is too poor, although he hopes preventive steps China is taking will make that unnecessary.
Beijing’s air quality is even more worrisome than that in Los Angeles or Athens, previous Games sites that also had pollution problems, said experts. In June, Beijing recorded its worst air-quality levels in seven years, with levels of nitrogen dioxide that currently exceed the World Health Organization’s clean-air guidelines by 78%. Beijing is considering plans to remove many of its cars from roads and temporarily shut factories to eliminate pollution during the Games next year.
Olympic events such as sailing or rowing have been rescheduled in the past due to poor weather conditions. But rescheduling sports events because of polluted air is quite unusual in Olympic history. READ MORE