Friday, October 26, 2007

Beijing pollution still major Olympic concern

In a perfect world, one would think that Human Rights would matter more to the Olympic boss and Beijing's dictator than the filthy smog.

Telegraph UK: By Richard Spencer in Beijing

Last Updated: 4:01pm BST 26/10/2007

For Beijing's Olympics chiefs, the view from the bedroom window this morning could not have been worse.

A man crosses a bridge in Beijing (top) and the Olympic Stadium, also known as 'The Bird's Nest' (bottom)
A man crosses a bridge in Beijing (top) and the city's Olympic Stadium (bottom)

The day after a special "Environment Forum" dedicated to reassuring the athletics world that it had its air pollution under control, the city awoke to find itself engulfed by a thick pea-souper.

Visibility was reduced to less than 50 yards, flights were delayed, major roads into the city closed and, most importantly, the smog was so serious that children and the elderly were told to stay indoors by the city's weather bureau.

"Wear a face mask if you go out," its head, Sun Jisong, said. His office's report said the air was "heavy with particulate matter".

His warning came amid increasing signs of tension between the city authorities and the International Olympic Committee over whether the air quality will be safe enough for all Olympic events to take place as scheduled this summer.

Jacques Rogge, the president of the International Olympic Committee, warned in the summer that some endurance events, like the marathon, might have to be moved if the days on which they are set to take place turn out to be too polluted. (more)

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

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