When pondering business and vacation trips to China be sure to consider the damage to your health. The world record holder for the marathon refuses to run the marathon in Beijing's polluted air.
The world's fastest long-distance runner said yesterday he will not compete in the marathon at the Beijing Olympic Games because of the city's choking air pollution, a move that is prompting runners of all levels to reassess the net health benefits of going for a jog in the smog.
"The pollution in China is a threat to my health and it would be difficult for me to run 42 kilometres in my current condition," Haile Gebrselassie, the 34-year-old Ethiopian who many enthusiasts call the best distance runner of all time, told Reuters.
Gebrselassie is still going to race the 10000 meter. He has asthma and figures a marathon in Beijing's polluted air could do permanent damage to his sensitive lungs.
A friend who went to China told me that at one point she had to pull over the car she was driving to throw up because the air was so bad it had made her sick to her stomach. But of course Chinese officials paint a rosier picture.
"I believe the air quality will only become better and better in Beijing," Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said when asked about running eat Haile Gebrselassie's plans to skip the Olympic marathon because of pollution worries.
Justine Henin, the world’s top-ranked women’s tennis player and the 2004 Olympic gold medalist, said she was considering not competing in the Olympics because of air-quality concerns.
The International Olympic Committee made a serious mistake when it chose Beijing for the Olympics.
Environmentalists applauded the move to give the relatively small and weak environmental agency more clout, but noted that it is unclear how much additional budget allocation or staffing it will receive. The current State Environmental Protection Administration has about 300 employees, not including affiliated institutions. By comparison, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has about 18,000 employees and an annual budget of about $7 billion.
So many people in China are very poor that the trade off between pollution control and economic growth in China is really not the same as in Western countries. Unfortunately the rest of the world part of what China dumps into the air and water.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2008 March 11 11:08 PM China|