It’s been all over the news: the air quality of China. According to a study done by Steven Packham, from the Utah Division of Air Quality, three days in China is the equivalent of spending an entire month in Utah. (Utah’s air quality around the Wasatch Mountains is very poor and loaded with particulate matter.) What’s to blame in China? With over 1.3 billion people, 3.3 million cars on the road every day, factories trying to keep up with China’s growth and the construction of state-of-the-art buildings, what’s not to blame?
A normal day in China may look like a foggy morning on the beach in the United States, but it’s a haze that doesn’t burn off with the sun. It’s actually smog, and it sticks around day and night. When athletes from all over the world are put in this atmosphere, it can take a toll on their performance, and health.
In the past few months, China’s government has ordered chemical plants, mines, factories and construction sites to shut down in and around Beijing. Chinese residents can only drive every other day and traffic will not be allowed in the city. It has been estimated that 50 percent of China’s vehicles will be off the road during the Olympics. The visiting athletes have also been provided with masks to help keep larger debris out and have been instructed to stay inside as often as possible and breathe slowly, through the nose. But that could be difficult with all of those athletes going for the gold!
*Information courtesy of http://www.NBCOlympics.com