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Tighter controls on air pollution
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The State Council has reportedly signed off on a comprehensive strategy to guarantee cleaner air in Beijing during the Olympic Games.

More than 30 Canadian citizens practice Taiji Fan on October 17 near the National Stadium, also know as the Bird's Nest, expressing their best wishes for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

The measures include strict controls on car emissions, dust and dirt, energy consumption and industrial emissions, which contribute heavily to the capital's air pollution.

Up to 40 percent of the city's air pollution comes from cars alone.

Officials from both the national and municipal environmental watchdogs yesterday declined to confirm or deny whether the State Council had given the new plan the green light.

A professional panel organized by the Beijing municipal environmental bureau formulated the plan, before it got the nod from China's environmental watchdog in July.

It was then submitted to the State Council for approval.

Du Shaozhong, deputy director of the Beijing environmental bureau declined to comment but said an official announcement and analysis would be made soon.

According to the plan, work on all construction sites would be temporarily halted leading up to the Olympics to reduce dust and dirt particles in the air during the Games.

Production will either be reduced or suspended at steel-iron factories, chemical plants and construction materials plants, and coal-powered plants will have to totally cease operations.

The city's estimated 3.5 million vehicles will be restricted from driving on the city's roads on certain days, including official business vehicles.

Zhang Jianyu, Beijing office head of US-based Environment Defense expressed "full confidence" that the capital could achieve better air quality next year.

(China Daily October 18, 2007)

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