Beijing: Amidst concerns over air quality three days ahead of the Olympics, a top official of the Games’ governing body today said the air quality of the Chinese capital is being monitored round the clock and the health of athletes and visitors would not be at risk.
The air quality is under intense scrutiny, putting pressure on organizers who have spent billions of dollars in the past few years to improve environment for the Games.
“The health of athletes and visitors coming to Beijing will not be at risk despite persistent concerns about the city’s air quality,” Arne Liunggyist, chairman of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Medical Commission, told the 102nd IOC session here.
“We used the World Health Organization standards for the evaluation... Those standards are fairly tough to meet, but in many aspects, the Beijing area does so,” Liunggyist said.
He said of the three WHO standards, the middle one, the interim standard which is used for developing countries, is applied to Beijing.
“The WHO standards have never intended for guiding people who are temporary visitors,” he said. “The standards are, and should be used, intended by the IOC to be guidelines for the authorities to protect health of the residents of that area.”
Liunggyist said the haze that covered Beijing recently was much due to the hot and humid weather which was “mistaken for pollution. The misty air is not a feature of pollution but a feature of evaporation and humidity,” he said.