Beijing's effort to clean up its air has achieved obvious results as the average quality of air has been good or excellent for about half of the days so far this year.
Zhao Yixin, director of the Municipal Environmental Protection Administration of Beijing, told a press conference on Wednesday that by October 20 this year, 142 days had reported good or excellent air, 53 days more than in the same period of last year.
"The sky has become blue again in Beijing," said a senior citizen who has lived in the city for more than 40 years.
In order to let the citizens enjoy better air quality and a blue sky, the city has adopted 25 special measures to curb air pollution since April this year.
Zhao said that these measures include curbing industrial pollution, improving the makeup of fuels used in the city and limiting waste gas emissions from automobiles.
According to the latest official statistics, 99.2 percent of the 5,010 industrial enterprises in the city have met the strict standards of waste gas emissions. Twenty-five polluting enterprises that failed to meet the municipal standards were closed in May.
Clean fuels such as natural gas, synthetic coal gas and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) have gradually become major fuels for Beijing citizens. Beijing is expected to become the largest consumer of natural gas in the country by using one billion cubic meters of natural gas by the end of this year.
The city is also replacing the usage of lignite coal with low-sulfur coal. It is expected to consume 5.5 million tons of coal with low sulfur content this year.
In order to reduce car emissions, the city has adopted the strictest emission standards for automobiles in the country. So far, more than 179,000 automobiles have been renovated to meet the emission standards. More than 82 percent of the vehicles running on the streets of Beijing have reached the municipal standards for gas emissions.
According to Zhao, Beijing will continue to invest some 20 billion yuan (US$2.5 billion ) in air pollution control projects over the next three years.
(People's Daily 10/25/2000)