From Tini Tran, Associated Press, published April 4, 2009:
The global economic slowdown is helping to accomplish what some in China’s leadership have striven to do for years: rein in the insatiable demand for coal-powered energy that has fed the country’s breakneck growth but turned it into one of the world’s most polluted nations.
From the Harvard School of Public Health, published October 6, 2008:
If current levels of smoking and biomass and coal fuel use in homes continues, between 2003 and 2033 there will be an estimated 65 million deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and 18 million deaths from lung cancer in China, accounting for 19% and 5% of all deaths in that country during this period.
Published on foto8.com on August 7, 2008:
As the Beijing Olympics approach, photographer Sean Gallagher exposes the true extent of the city’s extreme air pollution.
From the New York Times by Juliet Macur, published August 5, 2008:
After months of speculation about how Olympic athletes would react to the air quality problems here, some answers arrived at the airport Tuesday, when four track cyclists on the United States team stepped off their flight wearing masks over their mouths and noses.
From the China Daily By Li Jing, published August 6, 2008:
Beijing’s air does not pose any health risk for athletes, officials and other visitors, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said Tuesday.
Dispelling all fears over overcast and hazy skies in the city, the IOC said data on Beijing’s air quality is being assessed on an hourly basis.
Haze does not mean poor quality air, a senior Beijing environmental official said a week ago.
Published by Air Quality, Atmosphere and Health (2008) Vol. I by Wang Wenxin et al.
This article, published online April 30, 2008, looks at the hard science behind Beijing’s pollution figures. The research attempts to go beyond the Beijing Ministry of Environmental Protection numbers (which are listed with our photos) to determine the true sources and levels of major pollutants ahead of the Beijing Games.
From the New York Times by Jim Yardley, published August 1, 2008:
China’s environmental regulators on Thursday unveiled stricter emergency pollution controls for the Olympic Games that would shutter more factories and expand traffic restrictions if air quality failed to meet approved standards once the competition began next week.
From the New York Times by Flora Zhang, published August 1, 2008:
The New York Times Olympics blog covers the 2008 Beijing Games from every angle — the politics, the arts, the culture, the competition. Reporters and editors from the sports, foreign and business desks, as well as bureaus in China and elsewhere, will be contributing items now through the games in August. Read Flora Zhang’s interview with Orville Schell, the Arthur Ross Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations.
From the South China Morning Post via blip.tv, published on July 28, 2008:
The 2008 Olympic village officially opened its doors to more than 16,000 athletes,
coaches and representatives on Sunday. But amid the colourful fanfare, a thick blanket
of smog continued to overshadow Beijing. Watch the video.
From the New York Times by Jim Yardley, published on July 29, 2008:
But on Monday, China’s official English-language newspaper, China Daily, ran a front-page story under a boldfaced headline: “Emergency green plan for Games.” The article warned that officials may force far more vehicles off city streets — possibly 90 percent of the city’s total — and temporarily close more factories.
From Xinhua News Agency via ChinaDaily.com.cn:
The Chinese capital began on Sunday a two-month-long control of vehicle use to ease traffic pressure and improve air quality 19 days before the opening of the Olympic Games.
According to a short-term traffic rule effective from July 20 through September 20, vehicles with even and odd plate number run on alternate days in the metropolis, which boasts 3.29 million vehicles.
From the New York Times by Gina Kolata published on July 16, 2008:
Few could miss seeing the ever-present photos of Beijing shrouded in a gray mist of smog. Many have heard horror stories from athletes who have competed in Beijing.
The mountain biker Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski raced in Beijing last September. The air was thick with smog and he was convulsed with coughing fits. “I had to abandon the race,” he said. He was not alone. Only 8 of the 50 cyclists who started the race completed it, an attrition rate that is “just unheard of,” Horgan-Kobelski said.
From the New York Times, by Jim Yardley published on July 9, 2008:
With a month remaining before the Beijing Olympics, the International Olympic Committee on Tuesday praised the city’s preparations but also cited two “open issues” that remain: whether the city can deliver good air quality and fulfill promises to allow television networks to broadcast from non-Olympic sites.
From the New York Times’ Globespotters by Donald Morrison published on June 1, 2008:
But there is a problem that may elude the best efforts of Bocog and its bureaucratic allies. It awaits me every morning on my windowsill: a layer of dust so thick you can write a newspaper article with your finger. Beijing lies downwind of the Gobi Desert, and every year, that dusty ocean advances by a few more li or chi or something toward the gates of the city, if those gates hadn’t been demolished by Mao and other visionaries.
From the Atlantic Monthly published in June 2008:
Here is what I learned by visiting the cement factory, and by seeing and asking about many similar “green” projects in China: China’s environmental situation is disastrous. And it is improving. Everyone knows about the first part. The second part is important too. Outside recognition of where and why China has made progress increases the prospects that it will make further advances.
From AFP published on May 27, 2008
“Sensitive individuals should avoid going out of doors,” the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau said on its website, announcing that air quality was at “hazardous” level five, the worst possible grade.
But the bureau said experts this time blamed poor air quality on annual springtime sandstorms in Mongolia and China’s region of Inner Mongolia that had blown thousands of tonnes of dust over the Chinese capital.
From Atmospheric Environment published on August 19, 2006:
China is taking major steps to improve Beijing’s air quality for the 2008 Olympic Games. However, concentrations of fine particulate matter and ozone in Beijing often exceed healthful levels in the summertime. Based on the US EPA’s Models-3/CMAQ model simulation over the Beijing region, we estimate that about 34% of PM2.5 on average and 35-60% of ozone during high ozone episodes at the Olympic Stadium site can be attributed to sources outside Beijing. Neighboring Hebei and Shandong Provinces and the Tianjin Municipality all exert significant influence on Beijing’s air quality. During sustained wind flow from the south, Hebei Province can contribute 50-70% of Beijing’s PM2.5 concentrations and 20-30% of ozone. Controlling only local sources in Beijing will not be sufficient to attain the air quality goal set for the Beijing Olympics. There is an urgent need for regional air quality management studies and new emission control strategies to ensure that the air quality goals for 2008 are met.
From China Daily via Xinhua published on March 18, 2008:
Over the past few weeks, the IOC has made an analysis of a set of air quality data - including temperature, wind, humidity and SO2, NO2, CO, Ozone and PM10 readings - which were taken by the Beijing Environment Protection Bureau in August 2007 and given to the IOC.
“The findings indicate that, at Games time one year out, the health of athletes was largely not impaired,” said the Lausanne-based IOC in a statement.
From Environment News Service published on March 18, 2008:
World record marathoner Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia has announced that he will not participate in the marathon at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Gebrselassie, who suffers from exercise-related asthma, has expressed fears that the air pollution in the Chinese capital will threaten his health.
A new assessment of Beijing air quality released Monday by the International Olympic Committee’s Medical Commission acknowledges for the first time that athletes such as Gebrselassie might have something to worry about.
From the Los Angeles Times published on May 12, 2008:
An increasing number of athletes are threatening to skip part or all of the Olympics because they believe the air is unsafe.
Jeff Ruffolo, a public relations consultant to the Beijing Olympics who grew up in the San Fernando Valley, says the concerns about air quality are similar to what he heard in the run-up to the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles.
From Cornell University’s Chronicle Online published on May 1, 2008:
Zhang’s general research interests lie in what happens to the particles emitted from cars, trucks and power plants.
“I am interested in how these particles are made and how they disperse — how they transport and transform in the air,” Zhang said.
From Science Daily published on April 16, 2008:
“Air quality in Beijing in the summertime is dictated by meteorology and topography,” said David Streets, a senior scientist in Argonne’s Decision and Information Sciences Division. “Typically, temperatures are high, humidity is high, wind speeds are low, and the surrounding hills restrict venting of pollution. Thus, regional pollutants and ozone build up over several days until dispersed by wind or removed by rain.
From the New York Times by Andrew Jacobs published on April 15, 2008:
City officials laid out an ambitious series of measures on Monday that will freeze construction projects, slow down steel production and shut down quarries in and around this capital during the summer in an attempt to clear the air for the Olympics. Even spray-painting outdoors will be banned during the weeks before and after sporting events, which begin here on Aug. 8.
From official Xinhua News Agency published on April 15, 2008:
Work at Beijing construction sites will be suspended in the run-up to, and during, the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the municipal government announced yesterday.
The suspension - along with a slew of other initiatives - to be effective from July 20 to September 20, aims to ensure better air quality during the Games, said Du Shaozhong, deputy director of the Beijing environment protection bureau.
From the New York Times blog “Rings: 2008 Beijing Olympics” published on March 27, 2008:
With Beijing’s air quality plummeting because of a sandstorm blowing in today from Mongolia, the municipal government has declared an air quality emergency and advised people with respiratory problems to stay indoors.
From Time magazine published March 14, 2008:
Steven Q. Andrews has written two op-eds for the Asian version of the Wall Street Journal, in which he accuses Beijing’s Environmental Protection Bureau of tweaking its method of calculating the city’s air pollution index. That index is critical, because it is used to tabulate “blue sky days,” which are the chief measure of Beijing’s ability to control air pollution. When the blue-sky program was launched in 1998, there were just 100 days; last year the city recorded 246. But Andrews alleges that by changing the makeup of Beijing’s air-pollution index, and dropping monitoring sites in areas with poor air quality, the city has been able to show improvements that don’t match the reality of its smoggy skies.
From NPR’s Morning Edition published on March 11, 2008,:
Athletes competing in the Olympic Games this summer in Beijing have to overcome the city’s poor air quality. Marathon world record holder Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia has pulled out of the event. To find out what ways athletes may be affected by China s environmental conditions, Steve Inskeep talks to Christine Brennan, a sports columnist for USA Today.
From NPR’s All Things Considered published on March 6, 2008:
China is now the largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Michele Norris, who is in Beijing, talks to Melissa Block about what the country is doing to combat climate change. Deborah Seligsohn of the World Resources Institute discusses the measures China is taking to clean up the air before the Summer Olympics.
From NPR’s All Things Considered published on Jan. 30, 2008:
With less than 200 days to go before the Beijing Olympics, China’s capital appears on schedule to finish work on its new hotels, stadiums and subway lines. But Beijing faces an uphill fight to solve its notorious air pollution problem by August, and the government is preparing to order traffic off the streets to try to keep skies blue.
From the New York Times by Jim Yardley published on Jan. 10, 2008:
“Irregularities in the monitoring of air quality account for all reported improvements over the last nine years,” said Steven Q. Andrews, the author of the study, in a telephone interview. Mr. Andrews published an op-ed article about his study on Wednesday in the Asian edition of The Wall Street Journal.
From the New York Times by Juliet Macur published on Aug. 26, 2007:
At next year’s Olympics in Beijing, if pollution levels in that city are not abated to limits acceptable for the athletes, experts say, conditions for the marathon and other endurance events will be much worse than they were here Saturday.
From NPR’s Morning Edition published on August 17, 2007:
To clean up the smog and gridlock before the Olympic Games, Beijing officials embarked on a trial run of a system of odd-even license plates. Because today is the 17th, only vehicles with license plates ending in odd numbers can be on the roads. When the four-day trial ends, all cars will be back.
From IHT via AP published on August 7, 2007:
Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, acknowledged Wednesday that Beijing’s air pollution could force the postponement of outdoor events during next year’s Olympics.
The statement from Rogge came just hours before Beijing was to celebrate the one-year mark in the countdown for next year’s opening ceremony. A party in Tiananmen Square to celebrate the moment was to be attended by 10,000 people, including Chinese President Hu Jintao.
From Guardian published on Oct. 31, 2005:
As it gears up to host the 2008 Olympic Games Beijing has been awarded an unwelcome new accolade: the air pollution capital of the world.
Satellite data has revealed that the city is one of the worst environmental victims of China’s spectacular economic growth, which has brought with it air pollution levels that are blamed for more than 400,000 premature deaths a year.