What are you going to do? Posted by: McQ
on Monday, July 28, 2008
You're a totalitarian government who convinced the equally totalitarian IOC that it would be a good idea to hold their games in your country. And, sensing an excellent opportunity to burnish your image, you banish dissenters from your midst, put more stringent requirements on visas, and increase security to absurd levels. You even ban traffic and shut down factories to help eliminate a horrible smog problem suffered by the Olympic city.
And what happens - well, nature doesn't cooperate:
With only 11 days to go until the start of the Beijing Olympics, this was the smoggy scene in the Chinese capital yesterday.
Visibility was down to half a mile in some parts, including the National Stadium, while the Athletes' Village complex could not be seen from the nearby Olympic Green.
The city's notoriously polluted air has cast a cloud over the Games, with organisers threatening to postpone events if it is bad.
Drastic measures are called for:
Today state media reported drastic measures - pulling more cars from the roads and shuting down additional factories - could be taken if the air quality does not improve.
And, of course, official pronouncements of optimism always help:
'The air quality in August will be good,' Du Shaozhong, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau, told reporters on Sunday. He did not explain the reasons for his optimism.
But the problem might not be all Beijing, you see.
They may have to shut down a lot more of China to ease the problem.
Wind can blow pollution to Beijing from thousands of miles (kilometers) away, while a lack of wind can cause chemicals and particulate matter to build up in the city.
'There's only so much you can do with local emission reduction,' said Veerabhadran Ramanathan, an atmospheric scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego.
He is leading a team that is studying the impact of Beijing's pollution reduction measures.
'You're basically at the mercy of the winds,' he said.
And the winds, at least at this time are not being kind. Pity. Poor Mr. Du doesn't even have prayer to turn too in an attempt to ensure his August optimism.
I can imagine what his masters will say if, despite his sunny prognostications, it remains on the smoggy side.
You know, they say that smog causes beautiful sunrises. But such a sunrise would have a hard time competing with the news that the Chicoms and the IOC’s carefully laid plans are falling apart, because that’s just glorious.