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Provinces sign up to Games clean air pledge
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Five provincial-level jurisdictions surrounding Beijing have pledged to join the capital's effort to ensure clean air for the Olympic Games in August.

The provinces of Hebei, Shanxi and Shandong, as well as the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and Tianjin Municipality will conduct "comprehensive cooperation" with the Beijing municipal government to ensure good air quality during the Games, Zhou Shengxian, the director of the State Environment Protection Administration said.

Xinhua reported the administration had already drawn up five requirements to improve air quality in the capital, including "strict control" of dust at construction sites and purification of oil exhaust at restaurants.

Polluting factories would be asked to relocate while outdated equipment should be upgraded.

Beijing has already moved 167 polluting factories to the suburbs or remote areas over the past several years.

Beijing once had 16,000 coal-consuming boilers that spewed a large amount of dust and carbon monoxide but 15,000 have been upgraded.

The Beijing municipal government has also encouraged residents to take public transport or ride bicycles during the Games and plans to restrict the heavy traffic flow.

The Beijing government may use a traffic ban in which vehicles with even and odd-numbered license plates would be told to stay off the roads on alternate dates. About 1.3 million cars were banned from city streets between August 17 and 20 last year, which cut the amount of discharged pollutants by 5815.2 tons.
(Shanghai Daily February 13, 2008)

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