DHARAMSALA, 25 Jan: Dangerously high pollution levels of air clouding Beijing’s skies threatens to endanger athletes at the soon to be held 2022 Beijing Winter Games.
“A stark uptick in pollution has come at just the wrong time for Bejing,” reports Gizmodo, an online media company that focusses on science fiction and futurism as data from the Chinese environment ministry stated that Bejing’s average concentrations of PM2.5, a key measure of smog, hovered around 205 micrograms per cubic meter on Monday, less than two weeks before the games.
Citing a statement from a spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Ecology and Environment to Reuters, the report noted that China is “prepared to make an all-out push to reduce pollution” before the games open.
As such, China will now turn to cloud seeding which involves shooting rockets filled with silver iodide into the sky to induce rainfall to knock pollution particles down and clear the air, the report added.
While China was able to drastically reduce pollution levels ahead of the 2008 Olympic Games employing the same technology, the report added scepticism for its success this time around with just 11 days remaining until the first events are scheduled to start.
What is aggravating the problem is the World Health Organization’s even more stringent guidelines at 15 micrograms per cubic meter averaged over a 24-hour period, above which the organization deems air unhealthy.
Besides, the 2008 Olympics games saw worse particulate air pollution than any other game on record up until that point, states a 2009 study conducted by scientists at Oregon State University and Peking University.
The report credited China’s anti-pollution efforts that loosened in the months following the event to the poor and unhealthy air quality.
“While it’s great that China wants to clear the air ahead of a big event, it’s also clear that more needs to be done so that we don’t need emergency measures in the first place,” it added.
The Games are scheduled to be held over 4 -20 Feb, but calls to boycott it continue to get steam over China’s crimes against humanity and genocide.
So far, at least ten countries have announced the diplomatic boycott of the Beijing 2022 games including the US, New Zealand, Australia, UK, Canada, Japan, Denmark and the Netherland.
Besides, the Olympic and Paralympic Committee of countries such as the US, UK, Canada, Dutch and Australia have all reportedly issued similar advice to their “athletes, coaches and staff to refrain from using their personal electronic devices while in China due to surveillance concerns, and use ‘burner’ phones rather than their cellphones.”