State owned media outlet, Xinhua, reported on Friday that the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau id working on a Blue Sky plan which will see a significant reduction in particulates, vehicle exhaust fumes and industrial emissions before the games in August.

The scheme will cover the city itself as well as the neighbouring regions of Tianjin, Hebei, Inner Mongolia, Shanxi, Shandong.

Xinhua reports Du Shaozhong, deputy director of the bureau, as saying: “During the Games, Beijing will limit the number of vehicles on roads, stop polluting work at construction sites and impose pollutant reductions on key companies.”

All construction projects within 1.5km of Olympic stadia and other venues will be put on hold during the games while coal-fired power stations will be fitted with emissions scrubbers.

Concern over Beijing’s air quality and its likely impact on the world’s biggest athletics event are not new.

Some athletes have publicly spoken out about the problem and for China getting a handle on pollution is vital if it is not to tarnish its international image.

A number of existing heavily-polluting facilities including cement and steel plants have already been shut down.

Chinese authorities have also dismissed claims that food produced for athletes will not be of an acceptable standard after a leak suggesting the US team will be supplying and preparing its own food in a departure from usual Olympic protocol.

Sam Bond

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