August 6, 2008

China: IOC Says Beijing Delivers on Environmental Promises for Games

Text of report in English by official Chinese news agency Xinhua (New China News Agency)

["IOC Says Beijing Delivers on Environmental Promises for Games"]

BEIJING, Aug. 6 (Xinhua) - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) lauded Beijing Wednesday for its efforts in environmental protection since it was awarded the right to host 2008 Games.

With just two days to go before the start of the Beijing Games, air pollution remains a concern and the Chinese organizers have been under fire from the media.

Chairman of the IOC's environmental commission, Pal Schmitt, told the 120th IOC session that China's rapid economic growth has put a strain on the environment, but the city has done its best to tackle pollution.

"The environment is much better than seven years ago," Schmitt said. "They have kept their promises."

Schmitt's remarks came one day after the IOC's medical chief, Arne Ljungqvist, said that the air quality would not prove to pose major problems to the athletes and to visitors in Beijing.

The Chinese capital has invested billions of US dollars to improve its environment since it won the Olympics bid, and a number of drastic measures have been implemented to guarantee good air quality during the Aug.8-24 event, including shutting down construction sites and reducing the operations of polluting industries in and around Beijing.

Originally published by Xinhua news agency, Beijing, in English 0304 6 Aug 08.

(c) 2008 BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.