August 7, 2008
Posted: 11:48 AM ET
I laughed when I heard that the International Olympic Committee said that air quality in Beijing is not a problem. Well, I’m not a meteorologist but if I stick my head out the window and it gets wet I know rain is in the forecast. I’m also not an air quality expert but when I look out my 11th floor window each morning, I can see the smog smothering the nearby buildings.
I am amazed by the amount of gray choking the city. I swear I can’t see a quarter-mile. And at times there is a smell surrounding me that reminds me of a bus station.
As I said, I’m not keen to the science of the whole thing but our colleague at Sports Illustrated, David Epstein, has written on the smog in Beijing, and he explains why the conditions may last for a while.
The IOC laid some of the blame for the grey air on the humidity. But I have been here since Monday night and only once have I felt really uncomfortable (and I live in Atlanta, Georgia). That was the day we went to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, and I was soaking wet after a few hours.
I’ve only seen two people wearing masks to cover their mouths – two members of the cleaning crew at one of the temples. I have been tempted to ask our guide if people are intentionally suffering to give visitors a better impression of their city.
It is the worst smog that I have ever experienced. Atlanta, which has some air quality issues, has never seen anything even close to this.
Now mom, don’t worry. I’m not constantly coughing, and my eyes are fine.
- Steve Almasy, CNN.com
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