IOC official surprised at Beijing’s air quality improvement

July 24th, 2008 - 3:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, July 24 (Xinhua) The air quality in Beijing has improved dramatically in recent days thanks to the effective temporary measures, an International Olympic Committee (IOC) official said here. “I am very surprised because I thought it would be different, but it’s much better, much better,” IOC’s Olympic Games executive director Gilbert Felli told reporters.

“You don’t feel bad when you breathe so it looks good, I’m confident.”

Last Sunday, Beijing started a two-month-long control of vehicle use to ease traffic pressure and improve air quality for the Aug 8-24 Games. According to the restriction, vehicles with even and odd number of plates have to run on alternate days in the metropolis.

Felli, who is a member of the IOC’s coordination commission for the 2008 Games and visited the Chinese capital regularly since 2001, said he was pleased with the overall preparations and felt less anxious at this stage than he had at previous Games.

“I’m very happy to see the level of preparation, the quality of the venues, the look of the city… flowers and trees, it’s fantastic,” he said.

“You are always excited before the games. But I have to say, at some of the past Games, I was more nervous because a lot of technical problems were not solved, but here they are solved.”

Felli jumped to defend Chinese organisers’ efforts to host a safe Games, saying what they are doing now is in line with Olympics norms.

“I think the people have just arrived and maybe they’ve never been at the Olympic Games because it’s always like this before the Games when they put in place the security,” he said.

“If you go along to the Olympic Green in the evening you can hardly move because so many people are stopping to take pictures, so I can see some atmosphere.”

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