Giant on the move
Smogwatch July 24
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