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Olympics 'nightmare' for Beijing mayor Wang
(Agencies/China Daily)
Updated: 2005-01-31 09:20

Even though 2008 Olympics is still some three years away, the Mayor of Beijing Wang Qishan is already feeling the heat.

Wang Qishan at a news conference in Beijing February 21, 2004. Wang was elected Beijing mayor at the second session of the 12th Beijing Municipal People's Congress that opened on Monday. [newsphoto]

The man in charge of preparing the capital city of 15 million people seems to run into problems everywhere.

He recently complained to the media that "almost everybody, except my wife, complains about the problems or make suggestions to me about what the Beijing administration should do."

His biggest problems are rubbish, sewage and, of course, public toilets. The snarling traffic is another headache.

"Wherever I look, there seems to be problems. For instance, when I walk on the streets and look around, I'm confronted by white plastic bags hanging on trees," he said as quoted by China Daily.

He said the Beijing municipal government is working doubly hard to improve on rubbish disposal, sewage treatment, outdoor advertising, heating, public toilets and traffic management.

And he thinks his nightmare will begin when some 30,000 foreign journalists descend upon Beijing for the Olympic Games.

"But they will not only report on the Games. They will scrutinise every tiny feature of the city and report back to their home countries."

"If they find smelly back street toilets, stinking rivers and litter everywhere, what would the people make of Beijing and China?" Wang asked.

The Beijing Municipality has vowed to build or renovate 700 public toilets, demolish 309 illegal outdoor advertising sites, speed up the building of five waste water treatment plants and clean up 40km of river this year.

It will also replace 2,000 coal-burning boilers with those fuelled by natural gas and replace 3,800 old buses and 20,000 old taxies.

Meanwhile, seven new venues for the Olympic Games, including the National Conference Centre, the Olympic Village and the Journalists' Village will start construction this year.

The theme of Beijing Olympics is Green Olympics and the Municipality is to spend US$6.6bil between 2003 and 2007 on clean energy and environment projects related to Olympics.

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