Sports Law

China Needs Clean Air For Olympics

Beijing OlympicsAs the Beijing Olympics impend around the corner, the Chinese have frantically been attempting to clean the air quality as well as the rest of the country.  After taking a lot of scrutiny for its civil rights record, health violations, and the cleanliness of the country, China has begun to listen to some of the queries about its health and cleanliness.

The rapid increase and pledge to change came shortly after world marathon record holder Haile Gebrselassie from Ethiopia declared he would skip the long-distance running competition at Beijing.  The 34-year-old Gebrselassie came to this decision based on the capital city’s poor air quality.  The Ethiopian Champion has asthma and believes that running through the streets in China, specifically Beijing, would cause him complications.

A day or so after Gebrselassie’s declaration, the Chinese government made regulations and laws to help clean up the air quality of the country for the athletes by August.  With the large amount of economic growth lately, China has seen an increase in pollutants from energy, cement, steel and other manufacturing industries such as Coke.  According to the Associated Press, China is home to 16 of the world’s 20 most heavily polluted cities.

I watched a CNN special earlier this year on the poor quality of water in some cities of China.  The documentary said that a lot of the villagers in those cities were getting sick and dying, and the local civilians blamed the reddish, murky water.  Several lawyers began working with the civilians on filing lawsuits against the government for the poor water quality.

Lately, the Chinese have gone to extreme measures to cut the pollution and save energy around Beijing and the major cities in order to comply with the required health standards set forth by the State Environmental Protection Administration.  The government has specifically required the larger manufacturing plants, coal plants, and steel plants to suspend emissions. The country also decided to take nearly half of the cars off of the roads from the period of June 24th-July 19th.  The Clean Air Act is underway in China. However there still seems to be a constant haze around the capital city as many countries and athletes have chosen to train outside of communist China, in neighboring countries.

In order to meet the pollutant requirements, the country of China will have to satisfy four major pollutants levels in air quality.  The AP claims that China has met three of the four as of March, and plan on meeting all requirements by the end of June.  Many athletes are eagerly awaiting these results. The air pollutant categories are sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, inhalable particles and chemical oxygen demand.

The president of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge, recently stated that outdoor endurance events lasting more than an hour would be postponed if the air quality still was not up to par. As the days continue to pass and August creeps closer, we eagerly await the official word on how poor China’s air is, and the damages it will do to our athletes. Lets hope they are minimal and that China gets its act together in time. China won the bid to host the Olympics in 2001 and had ample time to prepare everything for the games.

The Olympics are a great tradition that unites countries. It would be a shame to see the athletes and events get interrupted due to the irresponsibility of one nation.

2 replies on “China Needs Clean Air For Olympics”

There’s improvement, and goverment starts looking at the environmental issues more seriously. Started months ago, all supermarkets in Shanghai have to charge customers for plastic shopping bags, the supermarket will be fined if found not doing so.

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