The Beijing Olympic Games have officially begun. The opening ceremony kicked off at 8:08 p.m. local time on 08/08/08. So far, pollution readings are said to be moderate, with various Olympic officials and health authorities declaring the Games largely safe for athletes and visitors — as long as they’re just passing through and their sporting events last less than an hour. Olympic officials admitted that longer events may have to be moved or postponed depending on pollution levels. International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge praised China for doing “everything that is feasible and humanly possible to address this situation. … What they have done is extraordinary.” Indeed, China’s efforts to reduce pollution have been notable, and world health officials expressed hope the city would keep up its efforts to dramatically reduce pollution even after the athletes go home. “There is an air pollution problem in Beijing,” said Hans Troedsson of the World Health Organization. “However, we are missing the point by having so much attention on the short-term exposure while the long-term exposure is really ignored.”