Sunday, August 17, 2008

Beijing registers eighth day of excellent air quality

Beijing reported this month's eighth day of excellent air quality on Sunday, which provided a favorable weather condition for ongoing Olympic events.

Figures released by the China Environmental Monitoring Center indicated that Beijing's Air Pollution Index on Sunday showed a reading of 43, within the Grade I, or excellent, range of 1-50.

The figure was higher than the API reading of 23 on Saturday.

This is a new summer record over the past ten years, when July 2006 registered five days of excellent air quality. Last August, only two days reported excellent air quality.

In the other nine days, the city's air quality was in Grade II,which was within the standards to host the Olympics.

China uses the API system to survey air quality. An API readingbetween 51 and 100, or Grade II, means the air quality is fairly good. An API reading between 101 and 150, or Grade III, entails the air quality is slightly polluted.

Deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Environmental Protection Du Shaozhong said the city often reports more days with Grade I air quality during the autumn and winter incomparison with the summer. But this August, the number of days with excellent air quality was unusually high.

Du forecasted that Beijing's air quality would be excellent or fairly good during the Olympics and Paralympics.

Wang Zifang, a Beijing-based expert on weather forecasting, said Beijing's air quality would be excellent until Monday, after which, the wind may change direction and bring pollutants from adjacent cities, such as Tianjin and Langfang, to part of Beijing.

Du attributed good air quality to continuous efforts made by Beijing and the surrounding regions in air pollution control, especially this year.

Beijing municipal government said it had poured more than 140 billion yuan since 1998 into more than200 projects dedicated to improving the city's air quality.

In the run-up to the Beijing Games, the main host city implemented some drastic measures, such as the two-month vehicle control that would keep cars off the road on alternate days, to reduce pollution.

Source: Xinhua

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