08 August 2008

Birds Nest Soup!

Beijing National Stadium, nicknamed the 'Bird Nest' is lost in the haze on July 26, 2007 in Beijing, China.
(Guang Niu/Getty Images)

The wall of gray haze around the National Stadium and across the city cut visibility down to a mile. On the eve of opening ceremonies, Beijing's polluted air took center stage Thursday as the most visibly pressing problem for Olympic organizers who had promised to clean up the Chinese capital.

Despite China's enormous attempts to improve the air quality in the run-up to the Summer Games, the stubbornly thick haze that covered the city illustrated how difficult and elusive a target clear skies can be. In the end, it will come down to the wild card of weather: rain and wind.

"I hoped that the measures could have more effect than they had in the last week," said Zhu Tong, an associate professor at Peking University's College of Environmental Science and Engineering who has been advising the government on pollution issues.

"Unfortunately, we had meteorological conditions that weren't good for clearing up the sky. So the stagnant air in Beijing has helped pollutants accumulate. I really hope in the next couple weeks, we'll have conditions that will help us clear up the sky."

By TINI TRAN Associated Press Writer
BEIJING August 7, 2008 (AP)
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