Look out, Beijing wears its pollution on its sleeves

Posted on Friday 8 August 2008

The opening ceremony for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China was held today. While I don’t often comment on world news, I can’t help myself after I heard about the U.S. bicycling team being forced to apologize to the Chinese for wearing particle masks yesterday when they arrived to protect themselves from the polluted air. Pollution in Beijing is no secret for heaven’s sake. You can physically see the contaminated air on news clips, and its not like it wasn’t publicized last week as a concern for Olympic athletes.

Our sidewalk construction has flung some pretty contaminating dust into the air down here on main street, but that is to be expected, just as polluted air is to be expected in Beijing. Someone who has allergies, asthma, or other respiratory problems might want to think about wearing particle masks for protection, but I don’t think the construction workers doing the sidewalk project in downtown Spur would be offended by masks and certainly wouldn’t expect us to apologize for wearing them. But, if they do take it as an affront, they’ll just have to get over it, as should the Chinese.

In an effort to dispel the polluted state of things in Beijing the Chinese shut down many factories and limited the amount of traffic in the city by limiting the number of cars and even displacing Beijing residents from their homes in an effort to paint a better picture of the city, the country, and themselves. Remind anyone of Moscow in 1980?

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