Air Quality in Beijing a Major Issue

BEIJING, China, August 28. DUE to major struggles by the athletes competing in the marathon during the World Track and Field Championships in Osaka, Japan, concerns over the air quality in Beijing have once again surfaced. There's no arguing that the air quality is poor in Beijing, not a good sign with the Olympic Games less than a year from opening in the city.

Experts have indicated that pollution in Beijing is worse than in Osaka and, if measures are not taken to remedy the problem, athletes can expect conditions far from suitable for the biggest athletic gathering in the world. Jacques Rogge, the President of the International Olympic Committee, already addressed the air-quality issue earlier this month, suggesting that some events could be postponed if the problems are not fixed. He did, however, portray a confidence that China would have the pollution problems solved.

According to a New York Times article, several nations – including the United States – have plans to keep their athletes away from Beijing and the below-par air quality until it is time for competition. Athletes at the top of their sports, particularly endurance endeavors like swimming and track, can be affected by slight differences in air quality. For that reason, staying away from Beijing until race time is not a bad idea.

The article in the Times also addressed the problem of athletes having to treat asthma or allergies. In order to use a remedy for these problems, athletes must be tested by experts to ensure they are not using objects such as inhalers for performance-enhancing reasons. Bottom line: China is working on clearing the air in hopes of the problem being a non-issue in 11 months.