29 Jul 2008

Olympic cities still heavily polluted

4:30 pm on 29 July 2008

Beijing and Hong Kong are covered in smog in the countdown to the Olympic Games which open on 8 August.

Despite years of efforts to rid the Chinese capital of pollution and a number of recent attempts at quick fixes, a thick layer of smog has cut visibility across the capital to a few hundred metres.

Last week, Beijing ordered more than a million cars from the roads and closed dozens of polluting factories, apparently with little impact.

The state-run China Daily newspaper says the government may ban 90% of private cars and close more factories.

But the Games organising committee remains confident that athletes will have little to worry about regarding pollution.

Hong Kong will host the equestrian events. The city's air pollution level is classified as high.