2008-07-28 12:14:37 GMT 2008-07-28 20:14:37 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English
BEIJING, July 28 (Xinhua) -- Beijing has made significant progress in improving its environment as it prepares for the 2008 Olympic Games, but more permanent measures were needed to ensure long-term improvements, an international environmental group said on Monday.
"We are glad to see that Beijing has improved its infrastructure in its preparation for the Olympics," Greenpeace China campaign director Lo Sze Ping told a press conference.
Greenpeace acknowledged in a report that Beijing had adopted measures to improve the environment, such as building five new subway lines, upgrading domestic heating methods with geothermal heating systems, improving water treatment and reducing its reliance on fossil fuels and raising its emissions standard for new vehicles to EURO IV, one of the most stringent in the world.
"This has shown that with enough determination, it's possible to make drastic improvements," Lo said.
But the group also said Beijing had missed the opportunities in using the Games as a platform to implement more ambitious initiatives across the city.
Temporary measures such as restricting cars on the roads or closing factories would not help to improve air quality in the long run, Lo said, warning that relaxed car ownership rules in Beijing would continue to pose great challenges after the Games.
Meanwhile, clean technologies used at the Olympic venues did not expand to other areas in the city, the report said.
Du Shaozhong, a Beijing official, said: "Good air quality does not necessarily mean blue sky. You might not be able to see things in a bathroom, but you would not conclude that it's due to pollution."
"We should judge whether there is pollution by scientific statistics, not by what our eyes can see," said Du, deputy director of the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau, in response to the low visibility over the weekend.
The reading for particulate matter, a major airborne pollutant, was 96 on Monday, level II, which means "good air quality", according to the Ministry of Environmental Protection.