Beijing Amps Up Anti-Pollution Measures

New cuts on factories, cars as air flunks tests ahead of Olympics
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 31, 2008 8:28 AM CDT
A sign pointing to special lanes designated for official Olympic vehicles stands out in the smog on an avenue near Tiananmen Square, Sunday, July 27, 2008, in Beijing.    (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
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(Newser) – Beijing today rolled out new emergency measures to ease pollution, with the Olympics just more than a week away. The new rules will close more factories and take more vehicles off the road, in a wider radius around the capital, in the event of “extremely unfavorable weather conditions"—like hot, humid air that traps pollution. Beijing failed to meet China's national standards for air quality—already more lenient than those of the US—for 4 consecutive days recently, the New York Times reports.

More than 2 million cars have already come off the road due to earlier restrictions, which forced half of all drivers to leave their cars at home each day; factories have already reduced production, and work has been suspended on major construction sites. The new rules would take another 10% of  vehicles off the streets, and suspend production at 150 more factories and coal-fired power plants.