The Chinese government has been accused to rigging pollution figures to secure the upcoming Olympics, but pollution in the city reached the maximum stage five level this week — forcing the city to encourage people to stay indoors. This is likely to increase the unease of various countries to have their top athletics compete in the unhealthy environment.
“This is as bad as it can get,” a spokeswoman for the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau told AFP. Some 15 out of the 16 pollution monitoring stations in Beijing registered a “five” for air quality rating. The Chinese government has failed to curb run-away pollution that has accompanied their run-away economic growth. Much of the problem in Beijing is suspended particulate matter from coal burning and automotive exhaust. On a recent trip to Beijing, I could not see more than a block at a time due to the pollution. Much of the pollution in California comes from China.
For the latest story, click <a href=”Beijingers were warned to stay indoors on Thursday as pollution levels across the capital hit the top of the scale, despite repeated assurances by the government that air quality was improving.
“This is as bad as it can get,” a spokeswoman for the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau told AFP.
“Level five is the worst level of air pollution. This is as bad as it has been all year.”
According to the bureau’s website, 15 out of the 16 pollution monitoring stations in urban Beijing registered a “five” for air quality rating.
The main pollutant was suspended particulate matter, which is usually attributed to coal burning and automotive exhaust.
“Old people and young children should reduce outdoor activities and protect their health,” the spokeswoman said.
The Beijing Evening News warned residents not to do their morning exercises on Friday as pollution levels were likely to linger over the capital until a cold front moved in and blew some of the bad air away later in the day.
A lack of wind in the capital over recent days has led to a heavy cover of smog trapping in the pollutants, the paper said.
By nightfall, the pollution was still horrendously thick.
In the run up to the 2008 Olympic Games, Beijing has vowed to clean up its air and this year set a goal of 245 “blue sky days,” or days with only light pollution.
As of Thursday, the city needed one more day to reach the annual goal, the bureau said. But official “blue sky days” are often hazy affairs with heavy pollution.
Beijing’s air quality is routinely rated among the worst in the world by international agencies such as the United Nations and the World Bank, with rampant coal burning, regular dust storms and a growing number of cars cited as the main reasons.
The head of the government’s information office, Cai Wu, told reporters on Thursday that Beijing’s environment was improving and they should have “full confidence” that the Olympics would be pollution free.”
China’s environmental crisis appears to worsen by the day due to run awat development and a lack of enforcement. I am currently completing a review of the Chinese system for publication in China and eventually in the United States. The figures are astonishing and frankly frightening. I have proposed a system of private attorneys general like the one in the United States. It has obvious political barriers in China’s one-party state. However, China is experiencing a disaster in the loss of surface water, desertification, air pollution and other problems associated with the externalities of economic expansion and pollution. Most recently, it was discovered the that great wall is crumbling under the pressure of pollution. For that story, click here
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