Beijing environment officials hopeful of good weather

July 27th, 2008 - 4:09 pm ICT by IANS  

By Chang Ailing
Beijing, July 27 (Xinhua) A Beijing environment official said here Sunday that the city would see a clear sky soon with the weather cooling down with the onset of autumn during the Olympics starting here Aug 8. “Beijing is usually very humid in summer and sees quite some misty days, which also causes low visibility,” Du Shaozhong, vice director of Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau, said at the press conference.

Beijing’s recent hazy sky has become a concern to many people. Many are wondering whether it was pollution that blurred the sky.

Du said both pollution and whether condition could affect air visibility. “We have made great efforts in cutting down pollution and seen obvious improvement in air quality. As for visibility, no matter in which country, visibility is low in misty days.”

The official is optimistic that Beijing’s air quality will improve as weather changes.

“Aug 7 is the day when autumn begins (according to the Chinese lunar calendar). The weather in autumn is fine and autumn is usually the best season for travelling and having meetings in Beijing. I believe air quality during the Olympics will be fine,” he said.

Since 1998 to 2007, Beijing has carried on large scale air pollution prevention and control work.

Since winning the Olympic bid in 2001, Beijing has worked to reduce the four main pollutants, namely sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and particulate matter, by 60.8 percent, 39.4 percent, 10.8 percent and 17.8 percent, respectively.

In the first half of 2008, the major pollutants have dropped by 20 percent and small particulate matter reduced by seven percent.

To further cut pollutants and ease traffic congestion, from July 20, private cars have been stopped on alternate days according to their odd or even number license plates. The vehicle restrictions have resulted in a 20 percent drop of major air pollutants, according to the municipal government.

“On that extreme weather conditions, we will take tougher control measures to guarantee the air quality. We are on the right track of air quality control,” he said, without giving details of the back-up plans.

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