An analysis of the Air Pollution Index (API) trends in the Olympic Cities is important primarily because of China’s commitment to the International Olympic Committee that the API in the Olympic Cities shall be within Level II or API Scope 100 (see table below). For detailed AQ API reports for 27 monitoring sites in Beijing and the 24 hour forecast of the API in Beijing see http://www.bjepb.gov.cn/bjhb/portal0/default40.htm
The points in the chart are more loosely scattered than those of the other cities but there has been no clear improvement in the AQ of Beijing as seen through its API trends.
Air quality in Hong Kong as reflected by the data from the Sha Tin monitoring station, the nearest station to the Olympic venue in Hong Kong, (the data is taken from the Environmental Protection Department of the Government of Hong Kong) has been consistently stable in the past several years. Almost all of the days from 2000 have API below 100.
The AQ in Qingdao is relatively clean as represented in the chart above. Most of the days are under the 100-level mark, but there are quite a few instances where the API is within the 200 to 500 levels.
The AQ in Qinhuangdao has consistently been cleaner than the other cities. Majority of the days in 2007 and 2008 are below 100, however, there has been no clear improvement in the AQ as seen through its API trends.
For Shanghai, although there is no clear air quality improvement indicated by the chart, heavy polluting days with API higher than 200 had decreased since 2004.
There is an improvement in AQ in the past eight years. The points in the chart have become more concentrated in the 100-mark line.
The points are concentrating more on the area below the 100-mark line for Tianjin. This indicates an improvement in the air quality in the city.
The 2008 Summer Olympic Games will be held during the month of August. The average API figures of the six Olympic cities in August (2000-2007) are all below 100. If this trend continues, there is a great chance that the 100 API level will be met in the Chinese Olympic Cities during the Olympic period.
A closer look at the City of Beijing and its August API levels since 2000 (chart below) tells us that there has been a reduction in the number of days in August when the API levels have exceeded the Grade II Standard.
Source: SEPA, http://www.zhb.gov.cn/english/airqualityinfo.htm