Beijing’s Air Flunks Test One Month Before Start of Olympics

Armed with hand-held air pollution detectors, the BBC has put Beijing’s air to the test four weeks before the Olympic games. The results? The city flunked, its notoriously dirty air exceeding World Health Organization standards on six of seven recent days. The BBC measured particulate matter from cars, trucks, and factories, an excess of which casts a pall over the Chinese capital on most days. On one day, the BBC said, the level of particulates in Beijing’s air was seven times greater than WHO standards. When it won its bid for the Olympics in 2001, Beijing vowed that its air quality would meet WHO guidelines. Chinese officials — who are temporarily closing hundreds of factories in and around Beijing before and during the games and also plan to restrict traffic — maintain that there is still time to clean up the capital’s air before the games start.