| LAUSANNE, Switzerland
LAUSANNE, Switzerland The International Olympic
Committee (IOC) will reschedule events at next year's Beijing
Games if polluted air in the Chinese capital is a threat to the
"If...you know you have a risk and then apply your
contingency and your (air quality) numbers are not better, you
may have to decide to work on the rescheduling of the
competition if necessary," Olympic Games Executive director
Gilbert Felli told reporters on Tuesday.
Felli, who said any rescheduling would be decided just
prior to or during the Games, was speaking after a progress
report delivered by the Beijing organizing committee by video.
Doubts persist that Beijing organizers are aware of what
they need to do to solve the problem despite assurances that
contingency plans are being drawn up based on the results of
trials last August, when 1.3 million cars were banned from the
city's roads for four days.
Other plans include halting busy construction during the
Olympics as well as shutting down polluting plants.
Felli said the latest figures on Beijing's air quality had
been sent to the IOC which had yet to analyze them.
"We have just received now the numbers. We have not
analyzed them," he said. "We are trying to understand with a
medical commission how this type of air quality could affect
"The Chinese reassessed this morning that they still have
to finalize some of the work promised during the bid and
contingency plans at the time of the Games if it (air quality)
is not as we wish."
About 1,000 new cars hit the capital's streets every day.
Local Olympic organizers have pegged Beijing's efforts to
improve air quality to its "blue sky day" quota, referring to a
targeted number of days with acceptable levels of pollution, a
process dismissed by experts as unscientific.
A campaign launched on Monday called "guard the blue sky"
would involve inspectors cracking down on dusty construction
sites, uncovered trucks and outdoor kebab vendors to "guarantee
the smooth achievement" of the 2007 target of 244 blue sky
days, the Beijing Morning Post said.
The city has already poured about 120 billion yuan ($16
billion) in environmental programs for the Games, dismantling
dirty factories and stripping thousands of high-polluting taxis
and buses from the roads. The Games start on August 8.
(Writing by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by John Mehaffey)