Greenpeace, in an assessment of the 2008 Olympic Games, said Beijing had met most of its environmental commitments.
"We are glad to see that Beijing has improved its infrastructure in preparation for the Olympics," Lo Sze Ping, Greenpeace China's Campaign director, said.
A display of flowers surround a giant 2008 Beijing Olympics logo in Tian'anmen Square July 28.
"It has made public transport more convenient, upgraded home heating systems, improved water treatment and, to some degree, reduced its reliance on fossil fuels."
The worldwide environmental nongovernmental organization yesterday released a report: Lessons from Beijing, an independent assessment of the environmental initiatives of Beijing's 2008 Olympic Games.
The report acknowledged Beijing's increased use of energy efficient technologies and renewable energy.
Examples include the use of geothermal heating systems and the introduction of wind and solar power.
It said Beijing had expanded its public transportation system by adding five new urban railways and raised its emission standard for new vehicles to EURO IV, one of the most stringent in the world.
The report said sponsors Coca-Cola and Samsung had both delivered specific environmental commitments.
"Coca-Cola commits that all of its 5,658 coolers to be used at Olympic venues will be hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) free.
Haier is also providing some air conditioners that are solar powered as well as HFC free.
"This is a huge leap from the polluting technologies currently used in the developing world. Beijing has shown that, when a concerted effort is made, change is possible," Lo said.
However, the report also mentioned opportunities the city had missed in using the Games as a platform to implement more ambitious initiatives.
For example, it did not adopt an internationally recognized timber procurement policy for Games venue construction materials.
And it did not use zero-waste treatment, but constructed more landfill and incineration facilities.
Greenpeace encouraged the rest of China to move forward with Beijing toward a sustainable development model.
"Beijing has come a long way. We hope that Beijing's environmental initiatives to improve air quality and to speed up the development of renewable energy can serve as an example for other Chinese cities.
"The lessons learned in the Beijing Olympics are vital for China to move toward sustainable development beyond 2008," Lo said.
(China Daily July 29, 2008)