Beijing will continue huge investment in pollution control one year before the Olympic Games opens in the Chinese capital, a government official said on Thursday.
Shi Hanmin, director of the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau, said Beijing was expected to invest more than 25 billion yuan (about 3.29 billion US dollars) this year.
"Now Beijing is in the critical phase of pollution control ahead of the Olympics. Investments will be largely increased as expensive and large facilities are built so we estimated that the city will spend more than that of last year," he said, adding that last year Beijing had already spent 25 billion yuan in pollution control.
Beijing vice mayor Ji Lin said Beijing had invested a total of 120 billion in the past 10 years to protect environment.
"The large-scale environment protection was begun in Beijing in 1998 when the government spent 5.4 billion yuan and the sum of spending on it kept increasing. The number reached 10 billion in 2005." he said.
Despite rising expenditure on pollution control, Beijing is facing increasing problems as its booming economy never slows its pace.
The number of cars in Beijing exceeded three million on May 26, not a good news for Beijing's heavy traffic and air pollution.
The government planned to stop using part of the cars during the Olympic Games to ease the traffic and improve air quality and is going to take a series of measures before the Games.
Ji said the Chinese capital would like to learn from experience of past Olympics host cities when they were making efforts to ensure good traffic and clean air during the two-week sports gala.
"Car control, that is to temporarily ban part of the cars, is necessary both for traffic administration and air pollution control," said Ji."But the number is yet to be decided. We need to take reasonable measures which least affect Beijing residents' daily life."
"I heard of some experience from past Olympic host cities such as Atlanta," he said.
It was reported that Atlanta stopped 2.5 million cars from using during the 1996 Olympics. Beijing also adopted this measure by stopping using about 900,000 cars when the three-day Forum on China-Africa Cooperation was held in Beijing late last year.
"But to ensure clean air during the Olympics, we have to begin working on it a couple of years ahead," said Ji. "So we have some other measures to implement now."
The government requested over 1,000 gas stations to recycle gas vapor which is usually released into the air when cars fuel.
Beijing also lifted the bar for emission standards for all cars in Beijing and is eliminating disqualified cars.
"In 2008, all cars in Beijing should adopt the Level 4 emission standard," said Ji.
Ji said the government is going to eliminate 2,580 buses and over 5,000 taxi cabs this year.