Beijing's overall air quality improved during the four-day test
period carried out in anticipation of next August's Olympic Games. More than a million cars each
day were barred from the roads, according to the Beijing
Environment Protection Monitoring Center.
The test resulted in the removal of five million cars from
downtown Beijing roads. Beijing's air quality was classified as
"fairly good" for the duration of the four days.
"The index of inhalable particular matter (IPM), a major air
pollutant, was 91, 93, 95, 95 over the past four days, as compared
to 116 on Thursday," said Zhao Yue, a senior engineer affiliated
with the center.
"The wind speed has been low in recent days, which was not
conducive to dispersing the pollutants in the air," he added.
An unhealthy haze still hung over the city throughout the
weekend. Zhao commented, "The vehicle ban has definitely improved
the city's air quality."
A reduction in traffic congestion was the most obvious benefit
of the program.
Monday's traffic on almost all roads in downtown Beijing was
even better than the first three days, reported Shao Jie, an
official with the transportation department of the Beijing Public
"I have never seen smooth-flowing traffic during rush hour on a
Monday like this before," Shao said.
Statistics from the municipal transport authorities showed that
the jammed road sections only accounted for 0.1 percent of the
total roads on Monday, whereas on the previous four Mondays, the
figure stood at 5.8 percent.
(Xinhua News Agency August 21, 2007)