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Clean-air scheme to extend reach beyond capital
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The traffic-control measures aimed at ridding the air of pollution during the Olympic Games could end up affecting people in Beijing's neighboring provinces, a source familiar with the plans said.

"The clean-air plans will require the municipality's neighbors to adopt certain traffic-control measures and industrial-emissions controls," the source said yesterday on condition of anonymity.

The purpose of the plan is to reduce the amount of inhalable particles and ozone in the air.

The source said the plans had already been approved by the State Council, though the details have yet to be announced. Neither the State nor the municipal-level environmental watchdogs would confirm or deny the source's claims.

The capital's clean-air strategy targets vehicular and industrial emissions, dust and dirt from construction sites and the promotion of clean energy.

The authorities demonstrated that car emissions, which account for 40 percent of the city's air pollution, could be brought under control during a four-day project in August, when 1.3 million cars were taken out of circulation according to their license plate numbers.

However, no details are available about traffic-control measures that will be put in place outside of Beijing.

Wang Xiaoming, a publicity official at the Beijing environmental bureau, said the city is preparing to adopt a series of measures to support the Olympics clean-air plan.

"Most of the small coal-burning power plants supplying heat to the central heating system this winter have shifted to gas-powered boilers," Wang said.

The coal-burning plants that supply much of the heat to the city's central heating system from November 15 to March 15 have been blamed for also creating a lot of pollution.

Beijing has 16,000 small coal-burning boilers.

"Actually it costs more to refit small boilers than big boilers," Wang said.

Zhu Tong, leader of the panel drafting the capital's clean-air strategy, said the plan has undergone repeated revisions and refinements.

"The plan is a comprehensive and scientific one and could be subject to further changes," he said.

(China Daily October 30, 2007)

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