On the one hand there is the pervasiveness of dust blowing across the city from the Gobi desert. On the other hand there are the pollutants emerging from the heavy industries around the city. Both combine to leave the Beijing sky so thick that the sight of the sun is often a rare occurrence.
The appeals for something to be done about the pollution has reached critical levels with the IOC President, Jacques Rogge, last week threatening that some events – particularly endurance events – may have to be cancelled because of the dangers to the health of the athletes involved.
BOCOG and the Chinese governmental authorities in their anxiety to showcase to the world their commitment to a ‘Green Games' have indicated that they would endeavour to shut off the factories that emit pollutants for the duration of the Games but beginning some time before the official start
of the programme.
There seems little that can however be done about the dust from the Gobi desert.
One wonders however just how much consideration would have been given by the decision-makers at the level of the IOC to the pollution of the atmosphere in Beijing, given that this is not a new occurrence and should have been known to all of them at the time of the decisive vote.
The International Media
The international media, seemingly led by the CNN and BBC have been, in the recent past, heightened their focus on Beijing. Many of the programmes have not been complementary to the hosts of the 2008 Olympic Games.
While there is clearly a need for good reportage on the preparations for the Games it does seem more than a little unfair that the international media now appear to be shedding light on the negative aspects of Chinese society when there was little such coverage by comparison leading up to the IOC decision to grant Beijing the Games and even less coverage of China since.
Of course the same international media may well have been too busy addressing the importance of China to the well being of business interests from their respective countries investing in the Chinese economy for their own benefit to have addressed some of the many concerns that now seem to attract their attention.