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  Beijing to host 'green Olympics'
(QIN CHUAN, China Daily staff)

Committed to achieving a "green Olympics" for the world in 2008 and an improved environment for local residents, the Beijing government has conceived a five-year pollution control plan, Vice-Mayor Liu Zhihua said yesterday.

At a two-day national conference on pollution control in key river areas and regions which began yesterday, Liu said the top priority will be given to controlling air pollution in the city.

The energy use in Beijing will also continue to be improved so that pollution generated by coal burning can be dealt with, he said.

The construction of several natural gas transfer projects will help bring the annual natural gas supply in the city to 5 billion cubic metres by 2007, he said. The supply was 1.8 billion cubic metres last year.

The public transport system will also be further developed and there will be tighter control over vehicle emissions.

Environmentally friendly vehicles, such as electric-power ones, will be promoted and as of 2005, new vehicles in the city will have to meet the European Union's Euro III emission standard.

To curb dust pollution, construction sites in the city will be ordered to meet environmental protection standards and encouraged to get the ISO14000 accreditation, the international standard for environmental management.

Enterprises contributing to Beijing's pollution will be removed. And by 2007, more than 200 enterprises in the city's southeastern suburb and regions within the fourth ring road will be relocated.

Remaining enterprises in that area will also be encouraged to obtain ISO14000 certificates and adopt clean production practices.

Ecological rebuilding in Beijing, such as grass planting and controlling the use of underground water, will be enhanced to support the city's sustainable development, Liu said.

In addition to the first green belt in Beijing, which will be completed by the end of this year, another 500-kilometre-long green belt will be installed between the capital's fifth and sixth ring roads before 2008.

Between 1998 and 2002, more than 52 billion yuan (US$6.3 billion) was invested in environmental protection in Beijing, accounting for around 4 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in the same period. Since 1998, 147 polluting enterprises have been shut down or removed from Beijing.

Despite these achievements, the capital still faces a number of environmental problems.

The coal consumption in the city remains huge. Last year, more than 25 million tons of coal were burned, only 2 million tons less than in 1998. Damage by vehicle emissions is becoming increasingly difficult to control as the number of vehicles in the city is increasing by 10 per cent annually .

(HK Edition 07/03/2003 page2)


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