Beijing gasping for air

Beijing gasping for air

Just over a year before it plays host to the Olympics, Beijing reported its worst air pollution for June in seven years, state media said Sunday.

The Chinese capital had substandard air quality for 15 days in June, the worst record for that particular month since 2000, the Xinhua news agency reported, citing the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Environmental Protection.

By comparison, there were only six days with substandard air quality for the corresponding month last year.

One of the most polluted cities

Beijing has aimed this year for 245 days with a "blue sky," a measure of reasonable air, but it has some catching-up to do, as it recorded only 110 days in the first six months.

Poor air quality in Beijing, one of the world's most polluted cities, is a chief worry for many of the 10,000 athletes who will be competing here at the August 8-24 Olympics next year.

Arriving at the last moment

Some competitors plan to arrive in Beijing at the last moment before they compete to avoid the potential health risks from bad air.

"Blue sky" days are days with air quality of Grade 2 or better on China's air quality index, with Grade 1 being the best and Grade 5 the worst. – (Sapa)

Read more:
Enviro woes
Pollution fuelling cancer
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