According to the Environmental News Network, Olympians may face the worst air quality conditions in Europe this summer. European Environment Agency (EEA) figures “show that Britain has the second highest nitrogen oxide emissions in the EU after Germany, with energy production accounting for 58% of the emissions and road transport 34%.”
It is feared that the city’s nitrogen oxide and ozone concentrations will negatively affect the 2012 Olympic athletes and the vast number of spectators and tourists in attendance. In addition, legal action may be in the works as the organization ClientEarth is preparing to sue the British Government for failing to comply with the European Union’s January 1, 2010 deadline for fulfilling established air quality plans.
During the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, similar concerns about the effects of air pollution upon athletes resulted in a study that began that same year. The study was just recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and describes how air pollution can “affect cardiovascular disease mechanisms in healthy, young people.” Therefore, the risks to the 2012 Olympic athletes cannot be ignored.
In order to keep everyone informed, Britain’s official weather service will be providing updated air quality reports during the summer games. The website londonair.org.uk is already available to help people monitor current air quality trends.
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