Hope that environmental benefits will continue
All the green efforts are intended to bring about a successful Olympic Games, through which the Chinese hope to showcase their wisdom, culture and technological development. However, «the Green Olympics is not the end of a story, but just the beginning,» BOCOG’s Yu Xiaoxuan said. «The effects would be lasting and leave a precious legacy of environmental protection to China and the world.» There is still much work to do. Before 2008, Beijing needs to construct a second natural gas pipeline, and further lift its green land coverage to 48 percent, sewage treatment rate to over 90 percent, and use-of-recycled-water rate to 50 percent. To BOCOG, the Green Olympics is getting closer every day. Included in its list of future work are the Olympic torch relays, and the Games’ opening and closing ceremonies. «The arrangements will make sure that these events are not going to cause damage to the natural habitats for animals, to areas for water conservation, and to protected cultural heritage sites such as the Great Wall,» Yu Xiaoxuan said. All venue construction will be completed around the end of 2007, to be followed by decorations. BOCOG would make efforts to secure that the materials used for decoration are also environmentally friendly, and the job is done with quality, Yu said. An air quality security program is being developed by the city government. During the Olympic Games, Beijing will restrict the use of motor vehicles and stop all construction work. The neighboring areas of the capital city will be invited to «take coordinated action» to reduce discharge of pollutants and improve waste disposal. «The greatest difficulty for BOCOG is the lack of experience,» Yu said. «Foreign successes may not readily be copied. We need to learn first, and then bring our own innovative thinking into play. We must be successful, otherwise we cannot face the people who have entrusted this important mission to us.» On October 28, 2005, a substation was set up in the Olympic Green to monitor the air quality. When the Games take place in less than two years, experts say, the environment will definitely be better, not only because August in Beijing is typically rainy, damp and free of strong winds, but also the green efforts will certainly have paid off by that time. (1) China Features, which is affiliated with the state-run Xinhua News Agency of the People’s Republic of China, provides features to overseas print media.