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Olympics or health hazard?

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When I think of China, the images that spring to mind are quite different from the ones pictured above. Seeing those makes you almost wish that Beijing was still The Forbidden City and one cannot help but be saddened by what has taken place in the name of progress.  For a long time I dreamt of visiting China, walking the Great Wall, exploring the many alleyways, houses with tiled roofs and guardian dragons and adventuring; I love the idea of mystique that the far east holds. But I think maybe I prefer the images, built by literature and movies like The Last Emperor and The Painted Veil, to reality.

In four weeks the eyes of the world, via NBC and other networks, will be trained on Beijing for the 2008 Olympics. There are very few people who are not moved by the Olympic Games. Every four years we look forward to the openings,more grandiose each time, which fire our imaginations. We cheer for athletes, some household names and the unknowns, struggling gamely to write their names into history. Each network will have done it’s athlete, games and country profiles to be trotted out between events in order to keep interest. Other than World Cup Football, the Olympics are the single most watched sporting event world-wide. It is the Big Kahuna of the sporting world and we all will be avidly watching. 

But I pity the poor athletes and others traveling to the Games this “summer”. They are going to one of the most polluted places on this earth, and by doing so, will add to the pollution just by their presence. Even with all the talk about having the Olympics as “green” as possible, what is the reality? Hundreds of people traveling by jet (huge footprint right there), descending upon a city already under siege if the satellite images are anything to go by. All these extra people requiring: food, transport, washing facilities, etc. Sure it may be a huge revenue earner but you have to wonder at the real cost. 

This August several friends are going to the Games, I hope they have a good time, and that their respitory functions are not damaged by the exposure to so much pollution.  Good luck too to all the athletes.


Written by coffeewallah

July 11, 2008 at 2:17 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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