Smog and Olympics- Finally a solution?

7 Mar

China’s issue with smog has been present for many years, and has been suggested to be one of the main hindrances in Beijing’s bid to host the winter Olympics in 2022, with it being announced just last month that a joint bid was to be put forward by Beijing and Zhangjiakou, a nearby mountain town (BBC, 2014). It is thought that the experience of the country in hosting the summer games in 2008 should prove advantageous in the bid, with it being suggested that winning their bid for the winter games in 2022 could act as a “major push” for sorting out China’s smog issue (BBC, 2014). Chinese officials have even stated that they are going to undertake a series of measures to tackle its environmental problems and is confident they will not derail its bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, with current aims being for Beijing to cut its current coal consumption by more than half to 10 million tonnes a year by 2017 in addition to imposing tough controls over industrial pollution and dust fall from construction sites (Yi, 2014). Beijing is reported to have formulated 84 measures to deal with environmental issues including air pollution (Yi, 2014).


It is also hoped that the bid will help inspire a new generation of Olympic competitors and spur the development of the country’s nascent snow-sport facilities, with skiing still be seen as a minortity sport despite its increasing popularity (Patience, 2014). Additionally, due to the fact that the games would be located in two separate cities a 180km high-speed rail link from Beijing to Zhangjiakou will also built with the journey estimated to take around 40 minutes, a link which will prove invaluable for the two cities populations (Patience, 2014).


The controversy that came when the country paid host to the summer games has to be remembered though, with their constantly being photos of poor living conditions for the athletes or Beijing covered with thick layers of smog. Are these environmental concerns just a way of gaining the bid in order to try and benefit the Chinese economy or does the government actually want to finally try and sort out the many environmental concerns that the city faces?




BBC, 2014, China media: Attack on Doctors, BBC news online, Available at:, [Accessed 07/03/14]

Patience, M., 2014, China’s Winter Olympics dreams, BBC News, Available at:, [Accessed 07/03/14]

Yi, Y., Smog won’t hurt Beijing’s Winter Olympics bid: official, Xinhaunet, Available at: [Accessed 07/03/14]


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