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Weather Forecast Is Clear and Optimistic

There's good news on the weather front for the capital as the Beijing Olympic Games approach.

An environmental official said in Beijing on Sunday that hot and humid weather had contributed to poor visibility and the city would soon see clearer skies and cooler weather.

"Beijing is usually very humid in the summer and has misty days, causing low visibility," said Du Shaozhong, vice director of the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau.

Beijing's recent haze has concerned many people, who have suspected pollution.

Du said both pollutants and the weather could affect air visibility. "We have spent great efforts in cutting pollutants and seen an obvious improvement in air quality," he said. "No matter what the country, visibility is low on misty days."

He is optimistic that Beijing's air quality will improve as the weather changes.

"August 7 is the day when autumn begins according to the Chinese lunar calendar," the vice director said.

"The weather in autumn is fine and autumn is usually the best season for traveling and having meetings in Beijing," he said. "I believe air quality during the Olympics will be fine."

From 1998 to 2007, Beijing has carried out large-scale air-pollution prevention and control work.

Since winning the Olympic bid in 2001, the capital has strived to reduce four major pollutants - sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and particulate matter - by 60.8 percent, 39.4 percent, 10.8 percent and 17.8 percent.

In the first half of 2008, the levels of the first three pollutants have dropped by 20 percent and particulate matter by 7 percent.

To further curb pollution and ease traffic congestion, from July 20 private cars have been stopped on alternate days according to their odd or even license-plate numbers.

"We are on the right track in air-quality control," Du said.

(Shanghai Daily / Xinhua News Agency July 28, 2008)

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