Heavy Smog Greets Olympians

Despite traffic restrictions, skies hazy as always
By Kate Rockwood,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 27, 2008 5:55 PM CDT
Olympic and national flags stand under a hazy sky. Despite drastic pollution control measures that have been effect for a week, Beijing's air quality appears much the same as it did before.    (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
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(Newser) – Beijing has just 12 days left to clear its skies before the start of the Summer Olympics and things are still looking mighty smoggy, reports the AP. Visibility was a mere half-mile in some parts of the city and the Athletes’ Village was invisible from the nearby Olympic Green, despite drastic traffic restrictions in the capital. “It doesn't really look so good,” an Olympic committee member said.

“The air quality in August will be good,” said Beijing’s Environmental Protection Bureau deputy director. “Our job is to decrease the pollution as much as possible, but sometimes it is very common to have fog in Beijing at this time.” Athletes have been trickling in, but many are flying into South Korea and Japan to avoid the pollution until the last possible minute.