Changing China

Giant on the move


July 27, 2008

Only two weeks before the start of the Olympics Beijing is still suffering from smog.
Despite last-ditch attempts to turn the smokey and dusty Chinese capital into the promised pollution-free Olympic venue, smog still shrouded the iconic national stadium, the Bird’s Nest on Friday (July 25), only two weeks before the start of the Beijing Olympic Games. The temperature on Friday was forecast to be around 29 degrees Celsius with 70 percent humidity, so more humid than the day before.
    The Beijing Ministry for Environmental Protection was still showing data from Thursday (July 24) when the Chinese Air Pollution Index (API) showed a reading bewteen API 115 and 135. This figure is valid up until 1200 local (0300 GMT) the present day.  API 115-135 is grade three in the Chinese system, meaning “slightly polluted”, and doesn’t count as a “blue sky day”.
    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. In addition to traffic restrictions the city has 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 here

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