The drive for cleaner air by China's capital has resulted in the largest fleet of natural gas-burning buses ever plying in any city in the world.
This was revealed Thursday by a senior official of the municipal environmental protection authority, in a briefing on Beijing's efforts to clear its sky to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee, the country's top advisory body.
According to the official, Beijing had 1,630 natural gas-burning buses.
In addition, the city had installed pollution-reduction devices on nearly 190,000 cars, and transformed 36,000 vehicles, most of them taxies, into natural gas-burning vehicles.
As a result, about half of Beijing's light vehicles now had exhaust levels equivalent to Europe's I standard.
Beijing would very soon apply the Europe II standard to new cars and the Europe III standard in 2005, the official said.
To ensure a much cleaner sky before it hosts the 2008 Olympic Games, Beijing would phase out all the vehicles that hit the roads before 1992 by the end of 1997 and replace all the 18,000 motorcycles for disabled with vehicles more friendly to the environment.
The Chinese capital would also speed up the expansion of its road network and urban rail systems. Its subway and light rail length would increase from the current 54 kilometers to 201 kilometers by 2007.
It would continue giving priority to mass transportation systems to reduce cars on the road. The number of buses would increase from 15,400 to 18,000 by 2007, the official said
(Xinhua News Agency April 12, 2002)