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Beijing Sets Ambitious Blue Sky Target for 2007
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Beijing set an ambitious 245-day "blue sky" target for this year after beating the annual good-air-quality day target in 2006.



The Chinese national capital will strive to have 245 days with level two on the air quality index or better in 2007, four days more than that of last year, according to the municipal environmental protection bureau.


The city had fulfilled the annual target of 238 days for 2006 by Dec. 24, and saw three more days of blue sky before the New Year's Day.


The target last year was once widely believed to be a "mission impossible" as the city was hit by severe sandstorms last spring.


By the end of last June, the city had recorded 10 fewer days of fine air quality than in the same period of the previous year, according to the bureau.


Experts said the rains in July and August led to the record number of good air quality days, which helped the city eventually catch up and even outstrip the pre-set plan.


Du Shaozhong, deputy director of the bureau, attributed the achievement partly to intensified efforts made by environmental protection agencies at various levels in reducing pollution from coal burning.


According to the bureau's Web site, the municipal government will put air quality improvement, the residents' biggest concern, on top of its agenda in 2007.


(Xinhua News Agency January 2, 2007)


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