As Beijing prepares for its big upcoming Olympic shindig, the city is taking drastic measures to decrease pollution levels. China will close 10% of the cities gas stations. The remainder of the stations will have nozzles on hand which they will affix to the city’s cars as they come in for a fill-up to reduce exhaust fumes.
We’ve discussed in a previous article how serious a hurdle Beijing’s pollution poses to the Olympics’ athletes. In run-up events over the past year, endurance athletes in particular have complained about the deplorable air conditions. Watery eyes, a searing throat, and coughing up black mucus are the norm.
Beijing is not the first Olympics host city that needed to deal with poor air quality: both Athens and Los Angeles faced the same issue. In Los Angeles, a voluntary reduction in vehicular traffic and factory emissions during designated times of the day made a dramatic improvement in smog levels.
Beijing, as one of the most polluted cities in the world, won’t have the luxury of any “voluntary” reductions. As BBC News reports:
The President of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge, has warned that some events could be postponed if pollution levels rise too far.
Many cars are expected to be ordered off the road during the games and the authorities have started closing down factories.
What I find most amazing about this story is that the Olympic Committee as well as local authorities in Beijing, Athens, and Los Angeles acknowledged that the air quality poses a safety risk to the competitors. Of course, it also is debilitating to city residents year-round. When the Olympics roll around, the city cleans things up; when the competition leaves, they go back to driving, polluting, and killing off their citizens as normal.
Photo via flickr by s3rioussam.
- Olympic Athletes Face Environmental Hurdle in Beijing
- Beijing Adds to Subway Network, Drops Price
- China’s Fuel Efficiency One Step Ahead
- London to Introduce Largest Low Emissions Zone
- London to Introduce World’s Largest Low Emissions Zone