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Beijing Plans to Have 238 'Blue Sky' Days 2006
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Beijing plans to have 238 "blue sky" days this year, eight more than that in 2005, according to a source with the Municipal Bureau of Environmental Protection.

However, the Chinese capital will face quite a number of difficulties to achieve that goal, the source said, citing the ever increasing autos, energy consumption and construction sites.

Each year, Beijing will see more than 100 million square meters of construction sites to start or re-start.

The number of motor vehicles in Beijing is growing by 10 percent year-on-year, and coal remains the major source of energy.

All that adds up to produce much pollution and deteriorate the air quality in Beijing.

"Nevertheless, environmental protection authorities will surmount all difficulties to ensure the goal is achieved," the source said.

Beijing launched the campaign of "Defending the Blue Sky" in 1998, which saw only 100 days of "blue sky."

Last year, Beijing had 234 days of "blue sky," four more than the pre-set target.

It is the seventh year in a row of improvement in air quality in the national capital, according to Du Shaozhong, deputy director of the Municipal Bureau of Environmental Protection.

Beijing removed 4,000 old polluting buses and 30,000 cabs from service this year and replaced them with new vehicles meeting newly promulgated, more rigid state standards for pollution control, Du said.

Additionally, on July 1 last year it began implementing local standards for environment protection concerning fuel of motor vehicles commensurate with the new standards for exhaust of motor vehicles.
In the meantime, the relevant departments of the city tightened the monitoring different sources of pollution and law enforcement, which also contributed to the city's "blue sky" plan, Du said.

(Xinhua News Agency January 14, 2006)

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