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  • Olympic Venues "Superb" Despite Beijing Smog Red Alert


    12/08/15


    (ATR) A ski venue expert tells Around the Rings the venue that will host Olympic skiing events in 2022 looks "something like Summit County, Colorado or Park City, Utah."

    One venue expert says the Genting Resort Secret Garden, 124 miles north of Beijing, looks "superb." (Getty Images)
    Paul Mathews, founder of mountain resort company Ecosign, is at the Genting Resort Secret Garden this week for an alpine ski event. The International Ski Federation is staging competition from Dec. 8-11.

    "Skied Genting Secret Garden yesterday in cold temps and bright sunshine and the whole area looks superb," Mathews told ATR in a statement. "They got 40 cms of snow two weeks ago."

    The resort is approximately 124 miles north of Beijing.

    City leaders issued Beijing's first-ever red alert for severe smog on Monday, restricting factory work and traffic prompting schools to close.

    According to the AP, the red alert -- the most serious warning on a four-tier system -- means authorities have forecast more than three consecutive days of severe smog.

    Around the Rings has contacted Beijing 2022, but is yet to receive a reply.

    An online notice from the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau said it issued the alert to "protect public health and reduce levels of heavy air pollution."

    Readings of particle pollution (PM2.5) climbed toward 300 micrograms per cubic meter on Monday, well over the threshold of 25 micrograms per cubic meter the World Health Organization deems as safe.

    The AP says authorities expect that number to rise before the air begins to improve with the arrival of a cold front on Thursday. 

    In July, Beijing defeated lone opponent Almaty, Kazakhstan in a single round of voting by the IOC. 

    City leaders issued Beijing's first-ever red alert for severe smog on Monday. (Getty Images)
    Olympics expert Laura Walden says the Air Quality and Pollution Measurement, an independent pollution monitoring project based in Beijing, registered the Chinese capital as having a 201 grade on Monday, which is listed as very unhealthy. 

    Writing for SportsFeatures.com, Walden added, "Other areas that will stage the 2022 Games are mountain areas Zhangjiakou which is registering a lower 186 and Yanqing which tops Beijing with an even higher 234 grade." All of the reported grades exceed the threshold of "high." 

    Most of the pollution in Beijing is blamed on coal-fired power plants, along with vehicle emissions and construction and factory work, according to media reports.

    Government leaders in China told the AP they plan to upgrade coal power plants over the next five years to tackle the problem, saying emissions in the country will peak by around 2030 before starting to decline.

    Written by Nicole Bennett

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