Olympic Pollution

Posted in Commentary at 8:45 am by Jason G.

From Bloomberg:

Air pollution is choking Beijing as economic growth of 10 percent a year drives a building boom and increases demand for cars. Construction spending increased 13 percent last year, and new car sales jumped sixfold in the past five years, according to government statistics.

The U.S., which won the most medals in each of the past three Olympics, will base athletes in South Korea, 75 minutes away by plane, so they spend as little time as possible in Beijing, says Randy Wilber, senior sports physiologist for the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Beijing’s air contains the second-highest level of tiny particles that can trigger asthma attacks, according to a ranking of 20 Asian cities in the United Nations Environment Program’s 2006 Year Book. Only New Delhi had worse air quality.