|Green Olympics: A Pledge to Honor for Beijing|
His eyes opened for a second and closed again. Still in bed, Wo Niu reached out for the tiny alarm clock on the desk. He squinted at its round surface. The black short hand pointed at seven. It WAS time to get up! But how come it looked so dark outside?
Wo Niu dressed up and approached the window. He smelled a strong scent of mud and got some idea: the dust storm must have hit again. Still, Wo Niu was shocked when he went out of the building and saw the ground covered by a solid layer of yellow sand. And the cars parking around, of varied colors before, now all looked the same, just like scattered mounds of loess.
It was on the morning of
Frustrated, people questioned the "intensified" environmental protection efforts reportedly made by the government in recent years. Some voiced worry that the scenario of a Green Olympics in 2008 might not materialize.
Addressing the public concerns, experts with the State Forestry Administration (SFA) said climate conditions varied from year to year. The dust storm did not necessarily indicate the environment was getting worse. Afforestation efforts had been fruitful. And historical records showed dust storm was not likely to occur in
"The 2008 Green Olympics will not be affected by the dust storm, " said Liu Tuo, director of SFA's Desertification Control Office.
According to BOCOG, much progress has been made in the past few years and some of the "green goals" have already been achieved.
Meanwhile, the city imposed the stage-3 National Emission Standards on motor vehicles. Automobiles meeting the new standards, which are compatible with the Euro-3 Emission Standards, generate 50% less emission than vehicles conforming to the stage-2 standards.
Thanks to sustained and effective afforestation efforts,
Improvement of the environment was also seen in the rise of sewage treatment rate from 2% in 1990 to the present 70% in urban areas, and from 30% in 2004 to the present 40% in rural areas. And the safe treatment rate of domestic wastes reached 94% in the eight urban districts and 40% in the suburbs.
Many new constructions or renovations relating to the Games have adopted "green technologies" or highlighted a thrifty use of resources. A total of 100,000 square meters of ETFE (ethylene-tetra-fluoro-ethylene) foils would be pasted on the exterior of the walls and roof of the
A centralized AC system to be installed in the Wukesong Indoor Stadium would economize energy consumption by cooling according to the actual needs. Solar energy would be used to power air conditioning on the baseball ground and also for lighting in other parts of the Stadium. And an optical fiber lighting system would transmit the daylight to the underground parking area.
Buried underneath the National Indoor Stadium were 8,000 tons of waste steel scraps supplied by the Capital Iron & Steel Group. The heavy material served the float-combating purpose well and the utilization solved the problem of proper disposal. In the Olympic Village, another 3,000 tons of steel scraps were used to construct the roadbed. Manhole covers made of cement glass fiber composite materials were used in the Village to replace traditional ones made of cast iron, to save the non-renewable iron resources. And solar energy was exploited to supply hot water for construction workers and also for lighting on the construction sites and in the offices.
The development of subway and light rail transport has quickened in
Apart from implementing strict emission standards,
Regarding the 4,000-plus vehicles to be recruited by the Games for dedicated use, BOCOG said they were expected to give zero or little emission, with the help of hybrid or fuel cell technologies.
BOCOG released the Green Olympics logo on
In 2005 the "Green Olympics, Green Action" Promotion Team delivered more than 180 lectures in 15 districts and counties across
BOCOG signed a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations Environment Program on
All the green efforts are intended to bring about a successful Olympic Games, through which the Chinese hope to showcase their wisdom, culture and technological development. However, "the Green Olympics is not the end of a story, but just the beginning," BOCOG's Yu Xiaoxuan said. "The effects would be lasting and leave a precious legacy of environmental protection to
There is still much work to do. Before 2008,
To BOCOG, the Green Olympics is getting closer every day. Included in its list of future work are the Olympic torch relays, and the Game's opening and closing ceremonies. "The arrangements will make sure that these events are not going to cause damage to the natural habitats for animals, to areas for water conservation, and to protected cultural heritage sites such as the Great Wall," Yu Xiaoxuan said.
All venue construction will be completed around the end of 2007, to be followed by decorations. BOCOG would make efforts to secure that the materials used for decoration are also "green", and the job is done with quality, Yu said.
An air quality security program is being developed by the city government. During the Olympic Games,
"The greatest difficulty for BOCOG is the lack of experience," Yu Xiaoxuan said, "foreign successes may not readily be copied. We need to learn first, and then bring our own innovative thinking into play. We must be successful, otherwise we cannot face the people who have entrusted this important mission to us."