Emergency Beijing Olympic Pollution Scheme Begins [PlanetArk]
The city's chronic pollution has been one of the biggest headaches for Games organisers, who are banking on traffic restrictions and last-minute industrial cut-backs to bring blue skies and easy breathing for athletes during the Games.
Under the new rules cars are banned on alternate days depending on their licence plate number and most official cars have been impounded. Only taxis and Olympic vehicles are exempt.
The government hopes to take around 60 percent of the city's 3.3 million cars off the roads, the official Xinhua agency reported, and reduce emissions by two-thirds over the two months until the end of the Paralympic Games in mid-September.
Most building work has also halted and almost all earth and cement works have been closed, along with a string of factories -- including many in other provinces. Some are more than 100 kilometres away but still contribute to the pollution which earned the nickname "Grayjing" for the city.
Tianjin, a port city just east of Beijing and host to Olympic soccer qualifiers, has ordered 40 factories to close. Tangshan, a heavy industrial base northeast of Beijing will shut nearly 300 factories this month to improve air quality for the Games.
As you can imagine, taxi drivers are very happy.