Power plants curb emissions for Olympics

Beijing's power plants are set to slash their emissions in a bid to clean up the skies in time for this year's Olympic Games, according to reports in local media.

The five power plants based in the city are fuelled mainly by coal and provide a third of Beijing’s electricity and all of its thermal energy.

However, local media have reported that the Huaneng Beijing Thermal Power Plant has put in place a nitrogen oxide reduction system that is expected to reduce emissions by 75%, or 10,000 tonnes a year.

The capital’s four other plants are also believed to have plans to curb nitrogen oxide emissions over the coming months.

Last year, all five plants reduced sulphur dioxide emissions – one of the major contributors to air pollution in the city.

Beijing authorities are expected to limit emissions within a 500km radius of the city this year as athletes from across the world prepare to compete in the 2008 Games.

Earlier this week, officials announced that the city had beaten its target to increase the number of blue-sky days.

A target of 245 days of fairly good air quality in 2007 was beaten by just one day after the weather improved on December 31.

Du Shaozhong, deputy director of the Municipal Bureau of Environmental Protection told Chinese media: “We anticipated the last blue-sky day more than 10 days ago, but lingering fog and sandstorms frustrated us in the past week.”

It is the ninth year in a row that the city’s air quality has shown steady improvement by increasing the number of clear days.

City officials also recorded only three heavily-polluted days in 2007, compared to 13 in 2006.

The Olympic host city is now aiming to increase the number of blue-sky days by 11 days in 2008.

Kate Martin

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