Beijing air quality improves on day 4 of Olympic Games
Beijing's air quality significantly improved over the last two days, with the sky clearly visible today after rains on 10 and 11 August washed away the pollution across the city. In what could be a sign that the measures taken by the Beijing authorities are working, official data measured an Air Pollution Index (API) of 32 on 12 August. This is far below the benchmark set by the Chinese authorities, whereby an Air Pollution Index of 50 and below is considered excellent.
The news will most likely come as a welcome development for all the athletes as well as for Olympic fans across the world. The United Nations Environment Programme's Beijing team sees this as an indication that measures like the ones taken by the Chinese authorities can make a significant impact.
Some of the air pollution reduction measures that have been adopted by the Chinese authorities for the Olympic Games include the closing down of heavy polluting factories around the city and beyond, a traffic crackdown reducing car traffic around the city by about half, and free use of public transport for people holding tickets to Olympic event or Olympic accreditation.