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Olympics Emergency Plan Announced

China’s Anti-Pollution Efforts Failing, Olympics Emergency Plan Announced

AHN – July 28, 2008 10:53 a.m. EST – Linda Young – AHN Editor

Beijing, China (AHN) – With only 11 days until the Olympics begin, and with both Beijing and co-host city Hong Kong enshrouded in smog, on Monday China announced a new emergency air pollution plan.

Even with China’s earlier measures to keep half the vehicles off the roads and shut down many pollution-spewing manufacturing plants, the air quality is still poor. Testing at the Olympic Village revealed one pollutant at levels three times the recommended limit.

The amount of particulate matter in the air has been too high for four straight days. On Monday it rose to more than double the standard set by the World Health Organization. Even worse is the fact that China doesn’t even test for ground level ozone that can build up to high levels in high humidity, and Beijing is experiencing high humidity.

Pollution threatens to postpone endurance events, such as the marathon, triathlon and 10km open-water swim, which athletes can’t compete in if they are trying to do so by breathing polluted air.

A professor who advises the government on pollution told BBC news that a new emergency plan could take 90 percent of the cars off the road, close all construction sights and more factories.

“There is a chance… that we cannot meet the air quality standards so stricter measures are needed,” Professor Zhu Tong, of Peking University, told BBC.

And, it isn’t just the athletes who are affected by training in heavy air pollution.

In Hong Kong, the organization responsible for taking care of the horses for the equestrian events being held there told Agency France Press that they have taken a variety of measures to protect the horses from the air pollution.

“We have kept our horses in a high-ceilinged, six-star stable,” the spokesman told AFP.

If China institutes the new measures, it would do so 48-hours in advance in an effort to clear the air of pollutants.

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