Major pollutants in Beijing are down and air quality in the city has improved for a ninth consecutive year, an environment official said at a news conference in Beijing on Wednesday.
Between 1998 and 2007, the amount of sulphur dioxide in the capital's air was down 60.8 percent, while carbon monoxide was cut 39.4 percent. Nitrogen dioxide was reduced 10.8 percent and particles were down 17.8 percent, said Du Shaozhong, the Beijing Environment Protection Bureau deputy head said, quoting the latest statistics.
Apart from the particles, he said the other indices had met with the national standards. He added Beijing would implement more stringent environmental standards to reduce pollutants in the coming months ahead of the August Olympics.
Du stressed the improving air quality required long-lasting and consistent efforts. "We have fought for the goal (of better air quality) for almost 10 years, and will continue our efforts in this path."
He outlined a new set of measures this year to contain air pollution. This included removing 2,300 cars, 1,500 buses and 2,000 cabs that failed to meet emission standards.
The bureau will continue to target industrial emissions by polluting businesses such as chemical, metallurgy and cement manufacturers, and require residents to contribute to emission-cutting by switching from coal to electricity.
New goals include cutting pollutants by another 50,000 tons this year, Du said.
As the host of the summer Olympics, Beijing has been using its resources to tackle air pollution, cited by many as a concern for the Games. In the past two years, the city has expanded public transport, tested a temporary traffic ban and relocated polluting factories.
"Under normal meteorological conditions, air quality during the Olympics will meet the national and World Health Organization (WHO) standards," Du said. "We will fulfill the environmental commitment we made when bidding for the Games," he said, stressing that "there is not much room for doubt".
(Xinhua News Agency February 27, 2008)