Beijing has greatly sped up its effort to clean up the environment since 1998, especially after winning the host of the 2008 Olympic Games, a top environmental management official of Beijing said recently.
Wang Kai, director of the General Affairs Office under the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau (BJEPB), told local reporters that the city is acting faster to achieve the environmental goals set in laws and regulations.
The city has set goals for reducing coal consumption by using natural gas, reducing automobile emissions, controlling dust pollution, improving drinking water and developing wastewater treatment facilities. The goals and correspond measures to realize them have been explicitly written in Objectives and Countermeasures for Pollution Prevention and Environmental Management, which was effective from 1998 to 2002. To realize these goals, the city has carried out 37 key environmental programs.
In order to reverse the deterioration of air quality in Beijing, the city has taken ten major steps to control air pollution. It has made obvious progress in the past few years. By 2003, the content of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and inhaleable particles in the air had decreased 49 percent, three percent and twenty percent respectively over 1998. In 2003, the number of days with good or excellent air quality index ratings amounted to 224, accounting for 61.4 percent of the year’s total.
Wang said Beijing has set up a supervising mechanism to over the implementation of environmental plans. Government, legislature, environmental organizations and the public all have their representation in the supervising system. Beijing has adopted stricter emission control rules than the national standards. It has conducted cooperation on air pollution control with overseas environmental organizations, including those from France, Italy and the United States. During 1998 to 2003, Beijing had invested a total of 67 billion yuan, or four percent of the city’s GDP, in improving the environment.
Wang expressed his confidence that Beijing will successfully deliver a “Green Olympics” to the world in 2008.