Air quality getting better: IOC official

2008-07-25 02:33:22 GMT       2008-07-25 10:33:22 (Beijing Time)       Xinhua English

People tour the newly opened Olympic Park during its five-day trial period from July 1-5. The park is expected to receive up to 25,000 people per day during the Olympics. [Asianewsphoto]

The air quality in Beijing has improved in recent days, an official from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Wednesday.

"I am very surprised, because I thought it would be different, but it's much better," the IOC's Olympic Games' executive director Gilbert Felli told reporters.

"You don't feel bad when you breathe, so it looks good. I'm confident."

On Sunday, authorities in Beijing launched an odd-and-even license plate restriction in a bid to ease traffic pressure and improve air quality ahead of the Games.

Felli, who has visited Beijing regularly since 2001, said he was pleased with the overall preparations and felt less anxious at this stage than he had at previous Games.

"I'm very happy to see the level of preparation, the quality of the venues, the look of the city ... flowers and trees, it's fantastic," he said.

"You are always excited before the Games. But I have to say, at some past Games, I was more nervous because a lot of technical problems were not solved, but here they have been solved."

Felli defended the tight restrictions imposed by the Games' organizers, saying they are in line with Olympic norms.

"It is always like this before the Games," he said.

"If you go along to the Olympic Green in the evening you can hardly move because so many people are stopping to take pictures, so there is some atmosphere."

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