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Beijing to Cut Use of Coal for Green Game
Beijing is to further cut its coal consumption by one-third by 2007 to cut down on air pollution before the 2008 Olympic Games.

The target is to cut coal consumption from the present 26 million tons to 19 million tons by the end of 2007.

The Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad Thursday released its draft plan for improving the environment before the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

The detailed plan is one of the seven sections of the committee's Olympic Action Plan, the guidelines for Olympic preparations that were unveiled on July 13 until the end of this month for public consultation.

The other six sections will be published over the next three months.

The plan suggests that air quality remains the top concern for the 2008 Games and there is some way to go from Beijing's present environmental status to an ideal Olympic site.

Natural gas will be one of the main fuels to replace coal. A new natural gas pipeline is due to be completed before 2008, bringing the city's total gas capacity to 5 billion cubic meters, about four times the present amount.

More than 200 enterprises inside the Fourth Ring Road and in the southeastern suburbs will rearrange their industrial structure or simply move out before 2008 to reduce pollution in the area.

Tight restrictions on vehicles will also be implemented as the Beijing municipal government encourages citizens to leave their cars behind and use public transport such as buses, the subway and railway.

Low-pollution fuel will be used on the majority of vehicles by 2007 and citizens will not be allowed to use vehicles that have been driven for more than 15 years.

Dust control is also high on the agenda as the city aims to eradicate the seasonal sandstorms that hit the city.

A 12,500-hectare belt of trees and plants will be built on the outskirts of the city. More than half of the city is expected to be covered by plants by 2007.

Beijing officials have said they are confident that the sandstorms can be controlled and they pledged that sandstorms will not bother the 2008 Games.

Liu Jingmin, vice-major of Beijing and executive vice-president of the Olympic committee, said: "Whether in spring or in summer, we will have sandstorms under control in 2008.''

The plan aims to tackle every possible environmental problem that could affect the Beijing Games, from water to electromagnetic radiation.

(China Daily September 6, 2002)

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