Olympics smog watch: Beijing air quality described as 'fairly good'
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China says the air quality was "fairly good" today in Beijing.
BBC News says tests show the level of pollutants was still high on the eve of the Summer Olympics.
"It put levels of particulate matter (PM10) at 191 micrograms per cubic meter," the broadcaster reports, citing its own tests. "This far exceeds the WHO target of 50 micrograms/cubic meter, and also exceeds the WHO target for developing countries of 150 micrograms/cubic meter."
Oregon State University professor Staci Simonich, shown above, tells USA TODAY that her research suggests the air is cleaner today than it was last year.
A World Health Organization official tells AFP that permanent residents, not temporary visitors, are the ones who are endangered by the smog in the Chinese capital.
"There is an air pollution problem in Beijing," Hans Troedsson tells the wire service. "However, we are missing the point by having so much attention on the short-term exposure while the long-term exposure is really ignored -- that is where we have a problem."
Jacques Rogge, head of the International Olympic Committee, echoed his hosts when he told reporters that there's "absolutely no danger" to athletes who are competing in events that last less than an hour.
"The fog you see is based on humidity and heat. It does not mean that this fog is the same as pollution," he say, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.