Confidence strengthened in "Green Olympics"

2008-07-30 02:40:00 GMT       2008-07-30 10:40:00 (Beijing Time)       Xinhua English

BEIJING, July 29 (Chinaview) -- A long expected rainfall sprinkled most parts of Beijing and breezes began to blow away some of the haze and heat Tuesday. "We might expect thunder shower again on Wednesday night," according to Beijing meteorologists.

Although hot and humid weather and persisting haze have haunted the city for almost a week, its confidence in a "Green Olympics" has even been strengthened.

"I think a lot of things have been done and the efforts are positive. What I have noticed is a very definite effort to clean up the city," as Director of Special Events at Associated Press Bud Weydert said to Chinaview.cn.

" Beijing over the last several years has got a facelift," added Weydert, who is also the technical director of Associated Press at the Beijing Olympics Games.

A senior International Olympic Committee (IOC) official knows better about Beijing' s air quality.

"Most of the people see the fog, they say it's pollution. But we know here it's not pollution. It's mist, a fact of the nature," IOC's Olympic Games executive director Gilbert Felli noted.

Felli expected the air quality in the city to improve further with more rains in the coming days.

On last Friday, the latest data released by the Beijing Municipal Government showed major air pollutants, such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and particle matter emitted by vehicles, had dropped by 20 percent compared to the earlier period.

In the current month, 22 out of the first 25 days reached the "blue sky" standard -- days with fairly good air quality, said Li Wei, deputy secretary general of the Municipal Government.

From the very beginning, Beijing has promised to give a "Green Olympics" -- green environment, green stadiums with energy saving features, and green public that values environment and healthy lifestyle.

In order to achieve the goal, Beijing has rested two thirds of government vehicles and imposed a ban on private cars with odd- and even-number plates on alternate days to cut the cars hitting roads by about 2 million daily.

Beijing has built the Olympic Park, a new-style urban landscape which stresses ecological environment protection as well as reflects the greening and humanistic cares.

Also, it has closed polluting factories in the city and some neighboring areas, stopped most construction projects, and removed vehicles below emission standards.

The most significant step over the years, however, was a thorough relocation of the gigantic Capital Steel company which used to occupy a large area in west Beijing.

"Beijing has been working very hard to improve the air quality. I think it has effects," said Nick Mulvenney of Reuters.

"The amount of money has been put in environmental protection is very impressive," added Mulvenney, who has been living in Beijing for two years.

"The most important thing we have noticed about is China has been very serious about it," he said.

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