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Cars Sold in Beijing to Meet New Emission Standards

Chinese capital Beijing will ban the sale of new cars failing to meet new emission standards equivalent to Euro IV starting from March 1, a further move to cut air pollution and host a "green" Olympic Games.

All the new light petrol vehicles that are on sale in the Beijing market shall have to meet the new China IV standards from the beginning of next month, said Du Shaozhong, deputy director of the Beijing Environment Protection Bureau.

Furthermore, from July 1, 2008, all the heavy vehicles used for public transportation, sanitation, and mail services should also be in line with the standards. Heavy vehicles for other usages will still enjoy a leniency period of the old China III standards.

It is expected the new standards will reduce the amount of inhalant particulate matter, which takes up 90 percent of the pollutants in Beijing's air, by 330 tons in 2008, according to Du.

"About one third of the major pollutants in Beijing's air -- nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and inhalant particulate matter -- come from vehicle exhaust emissions. Introducing tougher standards will be the major measure to cut pollutants," Du said.

Despite a rapid increase in the number of motor vehicles, Beijing has managed to reduce nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide in the air to a level in conformity with its "green Olympics" commitment.

The new standard for Beijing cars is estimated to bring emission of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides further down by 48,000 tons, 5,300 tons, and 4,100 tons this year.

Du said Beijing will not lift a ban on diesel vehicles for the time being as pollutants in their exhaust are much more than that of petrol vehicles.

"The nitrogen oxides in the emission of diesel vehicles are 3.13 times of that in petrol cars, and the inhalant particulate matter is even 10 times more," Du said.

Beijing requires that gasoline and diesel sold at all outlets in the capital city must meet the new China IV standards from the beginning of this year.

The current China III standards, equivalent to their EU counterparts,, have reduced sulphur dioxide emissions from automobile exhausts by 2,480 tons annually since it was enforced at the end of 2005, according to official statistics.

There are 3.1 million motor vehicles in Beijing and about 1,000to 1,200 vehicles are adding to Beijing's roads every day.

Beijing faces tremendous pressure to improve its air quality ahead of the 2008 Olympic Games. Under the Olympic host city's ambitious "blue sky" plan, it must have 70 percent of the days in 2008 up to standard.

(Xinhua News Agency February 16, 2008)

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