12 July 2008

Beijing Olympic Preparation

Amongst the many actions Beijing is taking to prepare for the Olympics is the removal of dog meat from restaurant menus. Yeah, because eating dog meat is so much different than eating, say, cow or pig meat.
I'm also interested in seeing how effective the car ban during the Olympics will be in bringing down pollution levels. The Beijing government has posted a notice stating that beginning July 20th (and lasting for two months), cars with odd- or even-numbered plates will not be allowed on the roads on alternate days.
Haile Gebrselassie, an Ethiopian distance runner with asthma, has already announced he will not be traveling to Beijing for this year's Games. Other athletes have plans to fly in solely for their competition because they do not want to submit their bodies to the poor air quality any more than is necessary, rather than staying for the duration of the Olympics. I really don't blame them. When I visited Beijing this past winter, nothing was more clear than how unprepared they are to host this year's Olympic Games. The city always looked like it was under a dense layer of fog (really smoke - it was depressing), and breathing was difficult even for day-to-day activities. That level of air pollution isn't something you can solve in a few months.

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