Wow. Our experiment is off to a great start—let's see if we can finish it off sooner than expected.
The International Olympic Committee is threatening to reschedule parts of the 2008 Beijing Games, set for next August, if China can't prove that its air is safe for athletes, reports the BBC. Affected would be competitions involving endurance, such as foot and bicycle races.
Chinese officials already have been working overtime to reduce air pollution in its capital, especially since the United Nations reported last October that levels were more than three times what's acceptable. The government has dismantled or relocated factories and removed high-polluting taxis and buses from roads. As a last ditch effort, China recently launched a campaign called "guard the blue sky" that involves cracking down on dusty construction sites and even outdoor kebab vendors.
For more on China's pollution disaster, and its efforts to tidy up before the Olympics, check out Jacques Leslie's cover story for our January/February issue, which has been posted here.