About 30,000 people taking part in the 34th Beijing International Marathon Sunday faced concentrations of airborne particulate matter (PM2.5) of 344 micrograms per cubic metre, far above the World Health Organization’s 25-microgram limit for 24 hours of exposure.
According to AP, citing the Beijing News, “the organizing committee made 140,000 sponges available at supply stations along the marathon route so runners could ‘clean their skin that is exposed to the air.’”
AP added that “the air Sunday was deemed severely polluted, according to the real-time monitoring of Beijing’s environmental centre. It was the most serious level on China’s air quality index, and came with a warning for children, the elderly and the sick to stay indoors, and for everyone to avoid outdoor activities.”
Massive problems with urban air quality have long been seen as a prime motivator for China to curtail coal plant emissions that are also a major contributor to climate change.