19 Oct 2014

'Beijing is like a bonfire' as runners forced to complete marathon in gas masks

Thousands of athletes were forced to take part in Beijing’s annual marathon wearing pollution-busting facemasks after a toxic fog enveloped the Chinese capital and smog levels soared to “hazardous” levels.
Organisers refused to cancel the megacity’s 34th International Marathon despite warnings from medical and sports experts.
Even the People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s mouthpiece newspaper, cautioned athletes against taking part in the 26.2-mile race, reporting that Beijing’s air was “not suitable for outdoor activities”.
Beijing authorities admitted their city’s air was "severely polluted” on Sun  
Levels of PM2.5 - a miniscule airborne particulate that has been linked to hearth disease and cancer – hit 344 micrograms per cubic metre, the embassy reported. That is nearly 14 times higher than levels considered safe by the World Health Organisation.
One Chinese runner, who was not named, told the China Business News website he was pulling out of the race because of the smog. It was impossible to run for 26.2 miles without breathing through the mouth, the athlete noted.
Still, most competitors chose to ignore the health warnings, instead donning facemasks they hoped would prevent toxic air invading their lungs as they gathered in Tiananmen Square ahead of the race’s 8am start. 
"It was really exhausting," said Ma Dong, a 22-year-old male runner who was among those to use a mask. “Lots of athletes pulled out halfway because of the haze. It was really uncomfortable wearing a mask during the marathon as you can't breathe freely.”
Organisers told the Beijing News they handed out 140,000 water-soaked sponges to athletes, advising them to "clean" their skin after it was “exposed to the air”.
Luo Changping, a Chinese journalist, posted a photograph of one runner sporting a military-style gas mask. “I’m not running the marathon. I’m going back to the World War,” the journalist wrote.
Not all made it to the finish line across town near Beijing’s Bird’s Nest stadium. “Some of the runners have given up in the 2014 Beijing Marathon due to serious air pollution,” the People’s Daily reported.

1 comment:

  1. I love what fascism has done to China! I wonder what's next for her as she wears out her renewable supply of corporate knee pads yet keeps replenishing the labor force from her supply of billions of cheap labor units.