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China jumps Olympics air hurdle
By Michael Bristow BBC News, Beijing
Blue sky above the Bird's Nest stadium on 15 August 2008
Pollution has not been the nuisance that some feared China has confirmed something that most people in Beijing for the Olympics already suspected - the city's air quality has been good. Environmental officials say pollution levels have met expected standards on every day of the Olympics so far. They say this is down to measures brought in to reduce emissions during the Olympics and Paralympics. But one pollution expert says Beijing has also benefited from favourable weather conditions. 'Effective measures' Du Shaozhong, of Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau, said air quality had been good on every day in August.
Many people thought it would be [a problem], but the fact of the matter is that the concerns were unfounded Giselle Davies International Olympic Committee spokeswoman "We have had 100% compliance days in August and nine great single days."
Boon for residents
The BBC's own effort to monitor air quality during the Olympics confirms the Beijing government's upbeat assessment.
We have been measuring the levels of particulate matter - just one pollutant - in the atmosphere. According to our data, Beijing met the strictest WHO standard for particulate matter in six out of the first 11 days of the Games.
International Olympic Committee spokeswoman Giselle Davies said the IOC always believed Beijing would meet air quality targets. "Many people thought it would be [a problem], but the fact of the matter is that the concerns were unfounded," she said. Weather 'favourable' Independent air pollution expert Ivo Allegrini, in Beijing to monitor air quality during the Olympics, agreed China had managed to reduce pollutants. But he added that good weather conditions, such as rain, had also played a part. "Air pollution depends on a combination of the emitting source and the meteorological situation," said Mr Allegrini, of the Italian National Research Council. "Here in Beijing, we had favourable meteorological conditions coupled with some reduction of emissions."
Gebrselassie regrets opting out of marathon
EIJING, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Marathon world record-holder Haile Gebrselassie regrets pulling out of the 42-km race at the Olympics over fears that Beijing’s air pollution would damage his health.
“I’m surprised. What do you expect from me? I was here in February, I didn’t see no blue sky,” the Ethiopian runner told Reuters on Monday in China’s capital, where the sun was shining in a slightly hazy sky.
“Since I came here everything is perfect. They should tell us,” he added with a laugh.
Asked if he was now sorry not to be running in next Sunday’s marathon, he chuckled again and said: “Don’t push me. Yes.”
Gebrselassie, a 35-year-old who suffers from asthma, announced in March that he would not participate in the marathon and called on China to deal with Beijing’s pollution problem, saying it would be a hazard to athletes.
International Olympic Committee chief Jacques Rogge said last year that endurance events such as the marathon or long-distance cycling races could be rescheduled if efforts to clear Beijing’s polluted skies were unsuccessful.
As it turned out, the opening days of the Games were marred by smoggy skies but the weather has cleared for the second week.
“It’s really good for everybody, good for all … to keep such clean air, that’s fantastic,” Gebrselassie said.
Gebrselassie regrets opting out of marathon
i would bet my house and car and all my belongings that after the games it will go back to being the most polluted place on the planet.
Beijing plans to control the number of vehicles on the road, suspend some earthwork projects and ask polluting enterprises to cut back on production to ensure clean air for the 2008 Olympic Games, environment and transportation officials said yesterday.
... Municipal Bureau of Environmental Protection ... deputy director Du Shaozhong announced at a press conference on Tuesday that the air quality so far this month has been the best for this time of the year in previous 10 years. Last August had only two days of grade I or II quality.
Beijing municipal government said it had poured more than 140 billion yuan (20.5 billion U.S. dollars) since 1998 into more than 200 projects for improving the city's air quality.
In the run-up to the Games, the main host city implemented some drastic measures, such as the two-month vehicle control that would keep cars off the road on alternate days, to reduce pollution .