The Organizing Committee for the Beijing Olympic Games (BOCOG) held a press conference today with the topic of environmental protection.
One of the vice mayors, Ji Lin was the guest speaker and he extolled on how the city is going to cut emissions and improve the air quality in time for next year's Summer Games.
He explained the city is moving away from coal-fired plants and using more clean fuels like natural gas, and taking off 2,580 buses and 5,000 taxis that don't meet current emission standards off the roads.
One reporter asked that now there are three million cars on Beijing's roads, 80 per cent of which are private ones, what the city will do to limit the number of them. Ji replied by saying they are concentrating more on public transit, with a few more subway lines almost near completion and getting more buses on the road.
He also talked about oil and gas recycling stations, but didn't give a scientific explanation of how that worked. And Ji proudly talked about how there were 241 "good days" last year compared to 100 in 1998. Again there was no reasoning behind how these "good days" were calculated.
Another issue is dust pollution and the vice mayor said most of this is due to the numerous construction sites in the city kicking up dust and dirt in the air. He explained that when the Olympics are on, many of the sites will have completed construction or will be suspended. Ji hinted other industries would lower production levels or be temporarily stopped. When asked to identify them, he said they were still in the research stage and couldn't divulge any further information.
A foreign reporter asked if athletes from other countries want to bring their own experts and air quality measuring devices, would the city allow them to do this. The verbose vice mayor said they could "guarantee good air quality" and that they hoped people would believe their measurements. He added there will be mobile air quality testing systems that people can use. But he gave no description of what these looked like or how they worked.
While the vice mayor admitted there was much more work for Beijing to do, trying to cut down on the number of cars on the road doesn't seem to be one of his priorities to make the air cleaner.