Switzerland: Olympic president Jacques Rogge believes pollution-cutting measures for next month’s Games will leave a lasting legacy in China’s fight against environmental meltdown.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) have placed stringent controls on Beijing in the run up to August’s sporting gala, prompting the Chinese government to take sweeping measures to cut pollution.
Earlier this month companies were ordered to stagger or shorten working hours in a bid to improve poor air quality and traffic gridlock.
Beijing, often rated as having one of the worst pollution problems in the world by agencies such as the United Nations and the World Bank, has spent $16 billion over the past decade on improving the environment.
More than 1mn cars banned from plying in city
The government has slapped a ban on around one million cars in the capital city, which will take effect on 20July, just weeks before the opening ceremony on 8August.
“We asked the Chinese authorities for guarantees (on pollution) and they passed new legislation for environmental protection,” says Rogge. “It was a real structural effort for the long term. The Chinese are making durable efforts, planting a million trees between Beijing and the Gobi desert.
Rogge said that indoor and short-course events had been given the pollution green-light, but he echoed a warning he made last year saying that some endurance events may be postponed if air quality fails to meet standards.
Beijing, on course to meet IOC’s pollution targets
Rogge, whose mandate finishes next year, was positive that Beijing is on course to meet the IOC’s pollution-cutting targets.
“We are on the home bend. We have just sent a team for the last inspection. The head of the coordination committee, Hein Verbruggen, has said he is satisfied. “There is still hard work to do, but that hard work will continue until the closing ceremony.”