NPR reports on the consequences for workers as their industries are shut down temporarily to clean up Beijing’s air during the Olympics:
But the massive cleanup effort for the Olympic Games has come at a cost to the local economy of some nearby industrial cities, whose factories have been forced to close down temporarily.
The roar of industry in one of these towns, Tangshan, has quieted to a hum recently. Just 90 miles from Beijing, 267 factories have been closed down for the Olympics. They are mainly big polluters like steelworks, cement plants and power generators. Some have been closed since the beginning of July, while others shut their doors just recently.
One sleepy village houses workers from a major steelworks. Some of the factory’s 4,000 employees are still working, but many others are at home, on enforced “holidays.”