China is confident that it will provide clean air during the Olympic Games this August after it has spent 120 billion yuan (US$16.9 billion) on improving Beijing's air quality, a senior official of the country's environmental protection authority said today, Xinhua News Agency reported.
China is confident it will reach all air standards that the central government promised to the International Olympic Committee when it bid to host the event in 2001, Zhang Lijun, deputy director of the State Environmental Protection Agency, said at a press conference in Beijing.
Beijing has completed more than 200 projects that have helped increase the number of "blue sky days" to 246 last year from 100 in 1998, said Zhang.
The index of three contaminants — carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide — has reached the World Health Organization's requirements, said Zhang.
The standard of inhalable particles has dropped close to the WHO standard, Zhang added.
The city has also fulfilled the promises to monitor the air contaminants index every day and to improve overall environmental conditions before the Games.
The central government has begun to renovate factories in six provinces and cities around Beijing. It will help stop or limit the production of some heavy polluters in Tianjin and Hebei Province during the Games, Zhang said.
Weather experts have warned that Beijing is expected to have eight to 11 dusty days this spring due to sandstorms. The city was hit by its first sandstorm this year on March 1, shrouding most of the capital in haze, according to previous reports.
All About Blue sky days, Green Olympics, Air quality
(Shanghai Daily March 11, 2008)