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Environment Upgrade for Sailing City

To ensure the 2008 Olympic sailing event environmentally friendly, Xia Geng, mayor of the event's host city, has vowed to cover one-third of Qingdao with trees by 2005.

Under the "green Olympic" slogan, the city will plant 27,000 hectares of trees this year, increasing the total coverage to 400,000 hectares - close to the 2005 goal.


Qingdao will spend up to 3.4 billion yuan (US$411 million) during 2001-05 to achieve the feat.


The money will be spent as part of a comprehensive plan that also involves a reduction in air, water and soil pollution.


"I believe that Qingdao will welcome athletes and guests from all over the world with a better city environment," said Xia.


As part of another Olympic development, 90 percent of the relocation of the Beihai Shipyard, which will give way to part of the 1.6 billion yuan (US$193 million) sailing complex, has already been completed.


Almost 50 bays, including Qingdao Bay, Huiquan Bay and Taiping Bay, are scattered along the city's 730-kilometre-long coastline.


As the host of the 29th Olympic sailing event, Qingdao is making overall plans in order to improve the ecological environment to ensure it will be a "green," "high-tech" and "humanistic" Olympics, Xia said.


Qingdao's wind and wave conditions and water temperature make it ideal for aquatic events.


In order to add more Olympic glory to its seaside charm, the city has put aside money in a special budget aimed at creating the cleaner environment.


"We have decided to upgrade our facilities and embrace the Games with a new look. The most daring part of the plan is the minimization of air pollution," Xia said.


(China Daily March 16, 2004)

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