Olympics bid fu­els drive for clean air HIGH­LIGHTS

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By ZHENG JINRAN zhengjin­ran@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

For Nick Ward, a snow­board­ing enthusiast from the United States who lives in Beijing, the only is­sue hold­ing back his ski­ing pas­sion in the Chi­nese cap­i­tal is the heavy haze that some­times shrouds North China.

“I’ve never seen the smog back home (in New Hamp­shire, a northeastern state of the US). It hap­pens now and then here even in win­ter, and it’s re­ally an ob­sta­cle for out­door sports,” said Ward, who has been in Beijing for two years.

The se­vere air pol­lu­tion in Beijing, es­pe­cially in au­tumn and win­ter, has been a headache for out­door ex­er­cis­ers and sport­ing event op­er­a­tors in re­cent years. How­ever, Beijing’s joint bid with Zhangji­akou, He­bei prov­ince, for the 2022 Win­ter Olympic Games has of­fered a chance to re­duce the pol­lu­tion through co­op­er­a­tive ef­forts.

“The bid­ding and host­ing of the Win­ter Olympics re­quire good air qual­ity and en­vi­ron­ment, so it can mo­ti­vate us (the gov­ern­ments) to take tougher mea­sures to up­grade the eco­nomic struc­ture, thus cut­ting the emis­sion of air pol­lu­tants,” said WangHui, head of the pub­lic­ity depart­ment of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Win­ter Games Bid Com­mit­tee.

He­bei has wit­nessed fre­quent heavy smog since 2013, with seven of its ci­ties listed in the top 10 worst-pol­lut­ing ma­jor ci­ties, the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion said.

In Beijing, about 30,000 run­ners from home and abroad par­tic­i­pated in the marathon on Oct 19, breath­ing the haze on their long jour­ney.

“We­have felt the ur­gency of con­trol­ling the air pol­lu­tion to guar­an­tee our res­i­dents clean air,” Wang said. “The joint ef­forts be­tween Beijing and its neigh­bors are quite im­por­tant.”

Zhangji­akou, north­west of Beijing, al­ways has bet­ter air qual­ity be­cause up­wind.

“But the city will take ef­forts to keep the air qual­ity good for the bid­ding, and will co­op­er­ate with Beijing on the joint con­trol of air pol­lu­tion,” Zhangji­akou bid­ding of­fice di­rec­tor ZhangChun­sheng said.

Zhang said the good air qual­ity in Zhangji­akou has been an at­trac­tion for Beijing res­i­dents hik­ing in sum­mer and ski­ing in win­ter. It’s the city with the best air qual­ity of the 37 ma­jor north­ern ar­eas in 2013, the min­istry said.

Echo­ing the au­thor­ity’s de­ter­mi­na­tion on im­prov­ing air qual­ity, many res­i­dents in Zhangji­akou shared their con­fi­dence.

“I think the gov­ern­ments can present a won­der­ful en­vi­ron­ment to the par­tic­i­pants and the world if we get the chance of host­ing the Win­ter Olympics,” said Yan Xi­u­fang, a 65-year-old res­i­dent of Zhangji­akou, adding that her com­mu­nity has or­ga­nized ac­tiv­i­ties to pro­mote a green life­style.

it is lo­cated Sun Xiaochen con­trib­uted to the story.

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