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Beijing Tells Residents to Quit Bad Habits

Beijing environment authorities have called on city residents to quit some of their bad habits in a bid to create a cleaner environment in the run-up to next year's Olympic Games.

Beijing residents were invited in September to list the worst habits in everyday life that could cause pollution and to give their suggestions on how to improve the situation.

Now the organizer - Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau - has revealed that they received nearly 200,000 responses.

The bureau said the most despised habits were spitting in the street, fly-tipping, open-air barbecues, and smoking in public.

The bureau said the most popular suggestions for improving the environment included no smoking in public places, stopping auto engines while waiting at red lights, not fly-tipping rubbish, no spitting, sprinkling water before sweeping roads and using environment-friendly appliances at home and at work.

Many residents also call for vendors not to barbecue in downtown streets and suggest building and fitting out houses with environment-friendly material.

The bureau advised residents to act on those suggestions and to kick bad habits out of their daily lives so as to create a cleaner environment for the 2008 Olympic Games next August.

"The air quality reflects the civilization of a city. To Improve Beijing's air quality during the Olympics needs the combined efforts of the government and the 17 million city residents," said Zhang Baosen, an official of the Environmental Protection Bureau.

The suggestions made by residents may serve as a guide to environmental protection, he said.

A series of measures have been taken to improve the air quality in the national capital since the beginning of this year.

From Aug. 17 to 20, about 1.3 million cars were banned from the city roads each day to test the effect on air quality for the Olympic Games.

The densities of major pollutants in air - nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and inhalant particulate matter - were reduced by an average 20 percent, compared with that on Aug. 16, according to a report by the China National Environmental Monitoring Center.

Beijing Shougang Group, China's leading steel manufacturer, has pledged an output reduction of more than 70 percent from next July to September to ensure the Olympics can enjoy better air quality.

The municipal government has also taken steps to ensure people take public transport instead of driving private cars by cutting the metro ticket price by more than 30 percent, and also giving discounts of up to 60 percent on bus tickets early this year.

(Xinhua News Agency October 30, 2007)

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