The 16th Asian Games, part of the worldwide Olympic movement and governed by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) outlined specific measure to curb air and water pollution in the run up to the Games.
The Asian Games are the second largest sports event in the world after the Summer Olympic Games.
An eight stage plan, spanning six years, to reduce air and water pollution in preparation for the 16th Asian Games "has made significant positive improvements in the quality of life for all residents," said Yang Li, Deputy Director General of Guangzhou Environmental Protection Bureau.
According to Mr Yang, in 2004, the environmental situation in Guangzhou was grim and the average annual density of sulfur dioxide in the air exceeded the maximum permitted level set in Grade II national standards. Civic official worked to promote desulphurisation at 56 key enterprises, and after a year, the city's air quality met National Grade II Standards.
In March 2005, Guangzhou launched an aggressive air pollution remediation campaign in accordance with the air and water quality standards for national model cities for environment protection which included 15 action plans and more than 1,000 remediation measures. Since late 2006, the city's environmental protection efforts have been centered on minimizing the total amount of pollutants and implementing "the 50 measures for air remediation" and "the new 31 measures", and the city has successfully fulfilled all targets set for the third to the sixth stages.
To date, 5,837 works on the seven air quality enhancement projects for the Asian Games have been completed. These seven projects include:
Industrial nitrogen reduction and desulphurisation
Industrial dust removal
The first phase of relocation of industrial enterprises
Remediation of volatile organic compounds
Renovation of existing facilities to change to clean energy and
Elimination of small coal-fired boilers and oil recovery.
Other significant measures include:
Intensified Industrial Pollution Remediation
Fifty six key industrial enterprises completed installation of desulphurisation devices, and 23 small thermal power generation projects with a combined total capacity of 2.098 million kilowatts were halted.
The discharge of sulfur dioxide has been reduced by 51.08% from 185,000 tons in 2004 to 90,500 tons at present. Moreover, 26 key enterprises installed nitrogen reduction and desulphurisation devices, forming an annual oxynitride reduction capacity of 56,600 tons; small coal-fired boilers at 1,049 enterprises were removed and 91 cement enterprises were shut down.
From 2004 to 2007, 147 large-scale industrial enterprises in the city's central districts were shut down, ordered to suspend production or relocated. By the end of 2008, all of the 116 identified industrial enterprises were ordered to suspend production, shut down or relocated, with a completion rate of 100%.
All of the 57 enterprises located in the high-pollution fuel restricted area have switched to clean energy. The city's industrial fume discharge dropped by 50.2% from 23,900 tons in 2004 to 11,900 tons in 2009. During the same period of time, industrial dust decreased by 71% from 7,600 tons to 2,200 tons.
Vehicle Emission Pollution
In September 2006, Guangzhou became the first city in China to enforce National Standards IIII for Motor Vehicles (reducing pollutant discharge by approximately 50% compared with National Standards II).
Currently, 50% of the motor vehicles in Guangzhou conform to National Standards IIII. National Standards IV have also been enforced ahead of schedule and all vehicles have switched to National Fuel IV. Since January 2007, motorcycles have been banned in the city center and 362,000 motorcycles have been taken off the roads, reducing annual carbon monoxide by 24,000 tons.
All city buses have switched to clean energy. Furthermore, an environmental friendliness labeling system has been introduced for motor vehicles, and the areas where yellow-label vehicles are banned have been expanded to 260 square kilometers. Joint enforcement against motor vehicles exceeding the maximum permitted emission level has been intensified as well.
Restriction of Discharge of Volatile Organic Compounds
A total of 4,372 enterprises discharging volatile organic compounds in 11 key industries, including petrochemicals, coating, rubber and dry cleaning, have been renovated, ordered to suspend production or shut down.
An integrated oil recovery system have been installed for the 13 oil depots, 388 oil tank trucks and 514 petrol stations which have been previously identified for renovation.
Intensified Pollution Remediation for the Catering Service Industry
All of the 42,000 catering businesses in the city have been thoroughly inspected. So far, 97.57% of these catering businesses have switched to clean energy, 5,250 sets of kitchen fume treatment equipment have been installed and 1,773 catering businesses have been placed under remote online monitoring.
In recent months, 2,840 catering businesses which have been the subjects of public complaints about pollution over the past three years have been re-inspected. Since then, the number of catering pollution complaints lodged with the "12369" environmental protection hotline has dropped 39.7% year-on-year.
Dust Pollution Control
Since this year, the number of construction dust and noise pollution complaints lodged with the "12369" environmental protection hotline has dropped 35.2% year-on-year.
Environmental Law Enforcement
Over the past three years, 102,895 enterprises in the city have been inspected and 11,437 environmental violations have been prosecuted, with 5,056 enterprises and projects shut down and fines of RMB 185.925 million levied.
The amount of fines levied on environmental violations in 2008 exceeded the combined total fines levied over the past 30 years. In 2009, Guangzhou ranked first in Guangdong Province in terms of the amount of fines levied.
Environmental Monitoring Capacity Building
Monitoring equipment and information transmission systems have been installed at 10 routine national-level environmental monitoring points and eight Asian Games venues.
Nine air quality monitoring trucks and 14 vehicular exhaust remote sensing and monitoring trucks have been put into operation. All environmental monitoring agencies at the city and district levels have procured portable emergency monitoring equipment to facilitate joint monitoring with other government agencies.
From 2004 to 2009, the city's GDP increased 105% from RMB445 billion to RMB911.2 billion, total industrial output value rose 130% from RMB 576.67 billion to RMB 1.3481 trillion, and number of motor vehicles climbed 98% from 682,000 to 1,350,000.
Despite this rapid economic growth, the fine air quality rate hit 95.07% in 2009, up 12.01 percentage points from 2004; from 2004 to 2009, the incidence rate of acid rain dropped 21.5 percentage points, and the levels of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and inhalable particulate matters in the air declined 49.4%, 23.3% and 29.3%, respectively.
For five consecutive years, Guangzhou's air quality has exceeded National Grade II Standards. In the first 10 months of this year, the city's fine air quality rate reached 97.37%, up 0.66 percentage points from the last period last year, exceeding the 96% yearly target set for the Asian Games. In October alone, the fine air quality rate hit 100%, and the levels of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and inhalable particulate matters in the air declined 46.2%, 31.8% and 24.4%, respectively.
In addition, 581 sewage treatment works and rivulet remediation in the city have been completed. Construction of 38 sewage treatment plants envisioned in the water environment protection plan for the Asian Games has been completed, as well as construction of 17 sewage treatment plants in central townships, bringing the city's sewage treatment capacity to 4.6518 million tons per day and the sewage treatment rate in central districts to nearly 90% and a total of 121 major rivulets in the city has been undergone comprehensive remediation.
Water diversion and replenishment projects in the northern, central-eastern and southern parts of the city have been completed. The West River Water Diversion Project began operations on September 29 (following three years of construction) supplying clean drinking water to the western part of the city.
In addition, a total of 246 rural domestic sewage treatment systems have been built at 32 towns and neighborhoods in seven districts and county-level cities in Guangzhou.
Due to comprehensive remediation of the water environment, 100% of centralised drinking water sources in Guangzhou have met water quality standards. Water quality on the Guangzhou section of the Pearl River where large-scale events are to be staged has met Standards IV and water quality at four water sports venues for the Asian Games (the kayaking venue at the Guangdong International Rowing Centre, the canoe/kayak slalom venue, the dragon boat venue in Zengcheng, and the triathlon venue on the central lake at the University Town) has met Standards III, all conforming to the water environmental quality requirements for the Asian Games.
Water quality at landscaped Asian Games zones is also up to Standards V or higher standards.