Changing China

Giant on the move

Smogwatch July 24

July 25, 2008

    The iconic national stadium, the Bird’s Nest in Beijing was barely visible through smog on Thursday (July 24), despite last-ditch attempts to turn the smokey and dusty Chinese capital into the promised pollution-free Olympic venue. The temperature was forecast to be around 34 degrees Celsius with 79 percent humidity.
    The Beijing Ministry for Environmental Protection was still showing data from Wednesday (July 23) when the Chinese Air Pollution Index (API) showed a reading of API 89. This figure is valid up until 1200 local (0300 GMT) the present day, but the air quality on Thursday was visibly even worse than the day before.
    API 89 is still grade two in the Chinese system, meaning “comparatively good”, and counts as a “blue sky day” in Beijing.
    Environmental experts have in the past cast doubts on the Beijing’s claims of improvement in air quality, particularly the much-vaunted “blue sky days” tally that the authorities use to measure the improvement. Beijing says the blue sky index is aimed at helping Beijing residents understand the differences in air quality.
    The city’s chronic pollution has been one of the biggest headaches for Games organisers. On Sunday the authorities have restricted traffic and called a halt to all building work, giving the construction dust a few weeks to settle before the Opening Ceremony.

 see the latest smogwatch video from around the Olympic Green here


I was looking at the pictures I took around Oct-November and the sky looked much clearer then. I think it is probably more to do with the season though. August is probably the worst month to have the games, in terms of the weather. Late Sept, early October would have been great. -cctv-tower/


I am quite sure that this current smog is all due to the season and climate of Beijing. And this is a good reason for the Beijing officials to be surprised by such turn of even. They probably pick the dates of the games not knowing what they will face in August. We must sympathize with these officials to face such unexpected, uncontrollable surprise.

Posted by Bill | Report as abusive

My mother saw a program on HK based Phoenix TV, saying that BCBOG wanted to have the Games in September cuz that’s the best time of the year in BJ, but NBC, who paid a lot for exclusive TV coverage in the US, opposed that. September in the US is when the new TV season begins, if the Games extends into September, it will throw off all the TV shows for the fall season for NBC. NBC wanted to have the games in July instead, and August is a compromise.

Posted by Leo | Report as abusive

In September 1999 when i first visited Beijing the sky was beautiful and blue and I commented to the guide, who said it was unusual…he was correct, on later visits including a 10 month stay where i did not see the sun , it wasn’t so.

September would have been a better month, and 9 would still have been an auspicious number, but ‘look let the games begin’ they are on their way blue sky or not…and then let them be over with!

Posted by lucille ball | Report as abusive

August is the worst time in the summer to visit Beijing (and a lot of Chinese cities), people in China prefer to travel in September and early June.

You can forget about hosting the games in India during the summer – some athletes might die there.

Posted by rex | Report as abusive

Turns out the CCP can’t hide everything. The pollution their system has encouraged will be a blight on Beijing Games. Soon they will pay publicly for their backward ways.

Posted by Abe | Report as abusive

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