Beijing to Ban Some Cars for Olympics to Help Ease Pollution

by VR Sreeraman on  March 8, 2008 at 2:59 PM Environmental Health   - G J E 4
Beijing authorities will definitely go ahead with a ban on some cars during the Olympics to help ease pollution during the Games, a city official was quoted in the state press saying Friday.
Beijing to Ban Some Cars for Olympics to Help Ease Pollution
Beijing to Ban Some Cars for Olympics to Help Ease Pollution

"Automobiles, excluding taxis, buses and emergency vehicles, are to stay off roads every other day in accordance with the even and odd numbers on the licence plates," Xinhua news agency quoted vice-mayor Ji Lin as saying.

"The ban is aimed to ensure air quality during the sport events in Beijing."

A plan to compensate drivers for not using their car was being worked out and would be announced later, he said on the sidelines of China's annual parliamentary session.

No other details were immediately divulged.

Chinese authorities have said previously in vague terms that cars may be taken off the roads during the Games, but Ji's comments were the first time concrete measures had been publicised.

Beijing is one of the world's most polluted cities and some of the 10,000 athletes coming for the August Games, including Ethiopian distance great Haile Gebrselassie, have expressed concerns about the health impacts of competing.

The capital underwent a four-day trial ban on cars in August 2007, one year before the 2008 Games, but the air quality did not show marked improvement.

During the one-year countdown, International Olympic Committee chief Jacques Rogge warned that endurance events such as the marathon could be postponed to protect competitors.

"The task of bringing environmental pollution and traffic congestion under control remain arduous," Beijing mayor Guo Jinlong said in a speech to the city's legislature in January.

Guo said Beijing would enact strict standards on emissions this year and take other steps to curb pollution, such as closing down factories and suspending construction work in the city.

Source: AFP

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