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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

An Olympic tragedy in the making

Haile Gebrselassie pulls out of Beijing marathon because of pollution - Times Online:
"The marathon world record-holder said yesterday that he was unlikely to compete at the Beijing Olympics because China’s air pollution would damage his health. The Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie, 34, is a favourite for a gold medal this summer but is likely to focus instead on the 10,000 metres because he suffers from asthma.
“The pollution in China is a threat to my health and it would be difficult for me to run 42km in my current condition,” he said. “But I am not pulling out of the Olympics altogether.”"
Wow, talk about overcoming an adversity ... a marathon runner who suffers from asthma!
Some one remind me please, was China part of the Kyoto accord???
Last week, the Chinese authorities began their first census of pollution sources around Beijing as part of an environmental improvement strategy ahead of the Games. The survey will cover 90,000 sources, of which 24,000 are industrial, 45,000 residential, 21,000 agricultural and 128 treatment facilities, according to Beijing’s bureau of environmental protection. Companies failing to provide accurate information face a fine of up to 50,000 yuan (£3,500). The findings of the survey will be approved in the first half of next year.
I would think they would have asked for an enviromental report before they awarded the games to a country...after all it would be better incentive to get a country to clean up then wait and have all the Olympic stuff committed to it and put athletes into situations like this.

90 THOUSAND sources?! That sounds like an awful lot, but then maybe that's the norm for an industrialized nation.

Beijing's bureau of enviromental protection -- don't make me laugh.

I would also like to know how they can approve it if it isn't even done yet???

Nope wouldn't blame the entire British team if they pulled out (1/4 of them has asthma) fact it is so bad that the IOC has said it may cancel the endurance events if they feel the health of the athletes are at risk.
Well that kind of defeats things doesn't it? They are supposed to have everything up and running by the time the athlete begin to arrive. This is ridiculous.

It should be noted that 750,000 people die in China every year due to breathing problems related to pollution.

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