Frances Cerra Whittelsey blogs at The Equalizer. An author and former consumer reporter for the New York Times, she teaches journalism at Hofstra University.
When Olympic sailing competitors complete their races this week, they won't be slipping over the sides of their boats to celebrate with a refreshing swim.
That's because Fushan Bay, on whose shore sits the Olympic sailing center at Qingdao, is home to a persistent growth of algae as green and dense as a golf course fairway.
The algae were so thick that 20,000 Chinese went out in a thousand small boats in July to clear the water of hundreds of thousands of pounds of the stuff. Otherwise the boats would have been stuck in the scum unable to sail, their keels and center- or dagger-boards snared in it. And because algae is such a champion grower, the cleaning is
Read more commentary by Frances Cerra Whittelsey on her blog, The Equalizer.
They've closed the factories, stopped construction, taken half the cars off the road, told workers to stay home and migrants to leave the city, and still Beijing's air looks like grey soup, according to American reporters in the city to cover the Olympics.
As the games go on, the athletes probably won't suffer long-term health consequences from the city's chronic air pollution, although no one really knows that for sure despite the confident statements of the Olympic organizers.