How Air Pollution Affects the Olympics

By Caleb Burch

The upcoming Olympics in London this Friday have brought millions of tourists into the city.  This type of attraction greatly boosts the bustling city’s economy; however, it also boosts the city’s pollution.  According to an article written by Detroit Free Press “An influx of 550,000 tourists per day are expected during the two-plus weeks of the Olympics.”  This insane influx of tourists has turned the Olympic City into the Gridlock City.  Air pollution is actually so bad in London right now that scientists have created an app compatible with both iPhones and Androids that allows people to monitor the smog in their area.  According to an article posted about this issue on CNN Health, “The amount of nitrogen dioxide in London is comparable to the level of nitrogen dioxide in Beijing before Beijing banned half of the cars in preparation for the Games, and London has done little to control traffic.”  If London does not get a grasp on this, many people are worried that the pollution may affect the athlete’s performance.  Another quote from CNN Health suggests, “Demanding workouts in the polluted air could spell trouble particularly for those athletes that already have conditions such as asthma or exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB), a narrowing of the airways that makes it hard to move air out of the lungs.”  That may sound like a problem that would not affect too many of these world-class athletes but actually, according to AAAAI (American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology), it’s estimated that out of the 4,100 athletes competing, 1 in 6 of them suffers from this condition.  What do you think; does this qualify as an unfair disadvantage to the athletes affected?

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