BEIJING - For a second day, the Olympic host city reported Grade I -- or excellent -- air quality on Saturday, the eighth day of the Olympics. In most of the day, the city basked in sunshine.
Blue sky is seen above the urban areas of Beijing, August 16, 2008. [Xinhua]
Figures released by the China Environmental Monitoring Center (CEMC) revealed that Beijing's Air Pollution Index (API) showed a reading of 23 on Saturday, which fell into Grade I, whose API reading ranges between 1 and 50. On Friday, CEMC's figures showed an API reading of 17.
China uses the API system to report the country's air quality. An API reading between 51 and 100, or Grade II, means the air quality is fairly good. An API reading between 101 and 150, or Grade III, entails the air quality is slightly polluted.
Also on Saturday, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Environmental Protection Du Shaozhong said the city reported seven days with Grade I air quality in the first half month in August, which was the highest since 1998.
In the other eight days, Beijing's air quality was in Grade II, which was within the standards to host the Olympics.
"Beijing often reports more days with Grade I air quality during the autumn and winter in comparison with the summer. But this August, the number of days with excellent air quality is unusually high," he said.
Since 1998, the highest monthly number of days with excellent air quality in the summer was five, in July of 2006, he said. Last August only two days reported excellent air quality.
Du forecast that Beijing's air quality would be excellent or fairly good during the Olympics and Paralympics. "Should weather conditions be favorable, Beijing's air quality would be excellent. Should weather be unfavorable, the air quality would be in Grade II," he said.