Beijing's Olympics will not be shrouded in smog or choked by traffic jams, the city's top Games official promised yesterday.
With the two-year countdown to the 2008 Games beginning tomorrow, Liu Qi, president of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG), said he was confident air pollution and traffic jams would be tackled in time for the opening ceremony.
"The problems that exist in Beijing, such as traffic jams and environmental pollution, are things we have to solve, whether we are hosting the Olympics or not," said Liu, who is also secretary of the Party's Beijing municipal committee.
"Preparing for the Games should allow us to bring solutions to these problems ahead of schedule."
Beijing has made great steps in improving the air quality in recent years and the situation is getting better and better, said Liu.
Statistics show the number of "blue sky" days last year days when the air quality reached Grade II or better accounted for 64 per cent of the year. This year's goal is 65 per cent, or 238 days.
In April the city was battered by frequent sand storms, leading to doubt the target number of "blue sky" days would be reached.
But despite the harsh spring, Liu remains confident.
"Due to the sand storms, we were 10 days down on last year's total number of "blue sky" days," he said. "But almost every day in July qualified so we've regained seven days."
After the sand storms, all the more than 9,000 construction sites in Beijing improved their management, and today all construction site's sand mounds are covered to avoid dust getting caught by the wind, according to Liu.